Over the past year, the central route, which passes notably through Lampedusa, has become the most used by migrants seeking to reach Europe across the Mediterranean. Since January 2023, nearly 130,000 people – including Guineans, Ivorians and Tunisians – have arrived by sea in Italy, twice as much as last year at the same time. “We find approximately the same arrival figures as in 2015 and 2016 and already, at the time, we said that this was in no way comparable to the 850,000 people who arrived in Greece in 2015, puts Flavio Di Giacomo, spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for the Mediterranean, into perspective. More recently, Italy very well absorbed the arrival of 120,000 Ukrainian refugees in three months. »
For Mr. Di Giacomo, the current situation is “exceptional” for Lampedusa, but not for Italy, and even less on a European scale, while the European extreme right cries “migratory submergence”. In 2015 and 2016, “around 8% of people crossing arrived in Lampedusarecalls Mr. Di Giacomo. This year, it’s more than 70%. There is a logistical, operational emergency”he insists.
A voluntary solidarity mechanism
The ten-point plan for Italy presented on Sunday September 17 in Lampedusa by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, proposes to commit more resources from the European Union agencies for asylum and surveillance of borders (Frontex) to speed up and facilitate the registration of migrants arriving in Italy. He also wants to facilitate the transfer of people to other member states on the basis of a voluntary solidarity mechanism, and apply the agreement signed on July 16 with Tunisia, to help the latter better control the departures of migrants. of his ribs.
“Blocking departures is a short-term solution”estimates Flavio Di Giacomo, who argues that the application of such recipes with Libya only had a temporary effect. “Many sub-Saharan migrants flee Tunisia even though they were living there due to the dramatic context there and in particular the discrimination against them”he recalls. “There is nothing new in what the Commission is proposingregrets environmentalist MEP Damien Carême. It’s illusory. Ursula von der Leyen calls for voluntary solidarity between countries, but it has never worked, commitments are not kept. »
Both in Brussels and in the capitals, what everyone is waiting for is the final agreement on the asylum and migration pact, which has been under discussion for four years now. “This pact is now on track”we judge at the Commission. “There is still a chance that it will be concluded before the end of the commission’s mandate, in June 2024”, estimates a European diplomat. On September 28, the Council must adopt a final draft on the rules in the event of a migration crisis.
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