The Migration and Asylum Pact, one of the issues pending during the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, continues to be a source of disagreement among the Twenty-Seven countries. And, as happens every time the number of arrivals increases, the defenders of Fortress Europe are looking for scapegoats. Italy’s ultra-conservative Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, a vocal defender of the European Commission’s deal with Tunisia to stop migration, criticized the European left and High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Josep Borrell for raising doubts about the pact. with this North African country.

“Unfortunately, I saw that part of the Italian European political forces, for ideological reasons or, even worse, for political calculations, are doing everything possible to destroy what we put forward. I refer to the letter of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, the call of the European socialists and the positions taken by various leaders of the left,” Meloni said at a meeting of the Council of Ministers held this Monday. Borrell is reproached for the fact that he addressed an accusation to the expansion commissioner, in which he expressed doubts about the procedures followed.

“All actions are aimed at showing that no country in North Africa is a safe state with which we can reach agreements to stop the departure of illegal migrants. In short, the will of the European left is to make illegal immigration inevitable on a massive scale,” he added.

President Case Sayed’s autocratic drift is causing concern in several European countries, including Germany and Belgium. Moreover, if we take into account that the pact is intended to become an example for other agreements with third countries. In addition to Borrell, European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly published a letter on Friday requesting information on the African country’s human rights record. “These concerns relate to migration management,” O’Reilly says, wondering if there are plans to suspend the agreement if human rights abuses are found. The Tunisian government vetoed a delegation of five MEPs who intended to review the agreement with the EU and the state of democracy in Tunisia.

The agreement with Tunisia focuses on the economy, ecological transition and migration management. 105 million euros are allocated to border management, 300 million to renewable energy and another 150 million to immediate liquidity. The European Ombudsman notes that the Tunisian government cannot be given carte blanche. For Meloni, who was supported by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen of the European People’s Party, the pact with Tunisia is a guide that must be followed.

Despite measures already taken by Meloni, such as decreeing a six-month immigration emergency last April, 127,000 migrants have landed on Italian coasts this year, almost double the number in the same period the previous year. Last week, in just three days, 10,000 people arrived on Lampedusa, an island home to about 6,000 people.

“Climate change or insecurity in the Sahel has a greater impact on migration movements than the recent disasters in Morocco or Libya.”

Carmen Gonzalez Enriquez, Ri Elcano

According to researcher Carmen Gonzalez Henriques, chief scientist at the Royal Elcano Institute, many of these migrants come from Tunisia, which is located very close to the Italian coast. , who is being mistreated, look for a way out. According to this researcher, “migration movements are more affected by climate change, drought or insecurity in the Sahel than by recent disasters such as the earthquake in Morocco or floods in Libya. People’s migration projects are developed for a longer term. on the African continent, where borders are more porous.”

Meloni’s coalition partner, League leader Matteo Salvini, is calling for “tougher measures.” Matteo Salvini, the current transport and infrastructure minister, promoted anti-immigration policies as head of the interior in 2018 and 2019 that he has yet to respond to in court. It has banned humanitarian ships from landing at ports where rescue is a legal obligation.

Von der Leyen’s plan, about the same

The flood of arrivals forced European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to travel to Lampedusa on Sunday with Meloni. Von der Leyen announced a ten-point plan that includes speeding up the deportation of migrants who do not have the right to asylum. “Illegal immigration is a European problem that requires a European response,” von der Leyen said. “We will be the ones who decide who gets to Europe, not the traffickers.” But human traffickers are not the cause, but the means.

“Many of von der Leyen’s proposals have been tried for some time but have had very limited effect.”

Blanca Garces Mascarenhas, cidob

In fact, the plan proposed by von der Leyen is largely similar. “Many of the proposals he puts forward have been around for some time but have had very limited effect. There is no transfer agreement to other member states. Solidarity between member states is linked to responsibility in the Schengen area, but there is no agreement. ” says Blanca Garcés Mascarenhas, a senior researcher at Cidob specializing in migration. The latest example is Germany, which has suspended “until further notice” a voluntary mechanism for asylum seekers from Italy. The Dublin Protocol establishes that asylum claims must be examined first country where the new arrival is registered. Germany accepted 3,500 arrivals from the south, but Italy does not accept those returning from Germany.

“Sea Mission” and return

Meloni, criticizing the redistribution of migrants proposed by the Pact on Migration and Asylum, insists on the return and ending of migration in places of origin, and to this end she proposes the creation of a “naval mission” that would operate on the coasts of the countries from which migrants leave. .

Vox asked the government of Pedro Sánchez to join the initiative of the Italian prime minister, with whom it shares ideas. A total of 24,463 migrants have arrived in Spain by boat this year, up 25% from the same period in 2022, according to the Spanish Interior Ministry. More than 3,400 people were rescued at sea.

Only 30% of those who receive a deportation order are returned to the EU: states of origin and transit do not cooperate.”

white eyelash garces

The return policy Meloni advocates has been proven to not work. “The figures show this: only 30% of those who receive a deportation order return to the EU. And in some African countries, such as Guinea-Conakry or Cote d’Ivoire, it is 3%. These states do not cooperate in these repatriations, which “They depend on the will of these countries of origin and transit. They tend to be reticent because it means refusing remittances, accepting the return of dissidents, and there may be rejection in neighboring countries,” the researcher says. This also indicates that those who do not receive asylum are often marginalized and isolated.

The EU, and von der Leyen’s plan reflects this, insists on the need for agreements with third countries such as Tunisia, so valued by Meloni. “They are effective in the short term, but they are expensive. In the case of Morocco with Spain or Turkey with Greece, the number of entries has been reduced, but these countries agree to control the European border in exchange for additional conditions, as happened with Morocco with the recognition of the Sahara as Moroccan. This is a temporary and conditional surveillance,” says Garces, recalling how the number of arrivals from Libya to Italy has increased over the past two years as controls by the Libyan coast guard have been reduced.

According to several studies cited by Garces, the number of arrivals will increase steadily in the coming years. “With globalization, the living conditions of people on both sides of the border are very different, but the expectations are very similar, so the feeling of deprivation and the desire to seek a better life are intensified.”

According to the researcher, von der Leyen’s European plan fails primarily because “it does not take into account either the needs of neighboring countries or the conditions that push these people to migrate.”

Europe needs migrants

The paradox in the case of Italy is that the country needs immigration, although its rulers have a hard time admitting it. Europe as a whole needs them due to its aging population. The number of births in 2022 was the lowest on record: 393,000. Half of available jobs, more than half a million, were vacant that month, the company said. Economist. Meloni’s government responds by distinguishing between legal and illegal migration, but like other European governments, it does not offer legal opportunities to those who come to the country to improve their living conditions or escape political persecution, drought or famine.

“Orderly migration exists only on a very small scale because the EU has made very little effort to ensure it. We’re obsessed with what’s happening at the southern border because it’s important, but 90% of the people who come to our countries to stay enter through airports. We can reduce the chaos at the border, but we must ensure people have legal and safe ways to enter and create a more flexible system than the one we have now,” says Gonzalo Fanjul, an expert on poverty and development. author of the PorCausa Foundation and director of analysis at ISGlobal.

“Migration is the only solution for the EU, which faces a monumental economic and demographic challenge.”

According to Fanjul, “migration is not a problem for the EU, although looking at the southern border it may seem like a paradox, but rather the only solution the EU has to solve the monumental economic and demographic problem faced by most of its countries.” especially for Spain, with an aging population, high growing dependency rates and labor shortages in key sectors of the economy. All government parties, with the exception of the far right, understand that this is a fundamental problem. Migration is the solution, and what is needed is to rationalize the system and link it to human rights, the great problem of the southern border.