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Italy Seeks EU Help in African Boat People Crisis
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October 24, 2013, 03:22 PM
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Europe’s weakness in refusing to defend itself from a Camp-of-the-Saints-style invasion of diverse “refugees” continues to simmer. Around 350 African boaters arrived Tuesday on Italian territory, and the EU requires that the European country where fleebags land has to take them. Italy’s southern islands, particularly tiny Lampedusa, have been overwhelmed by the flood of Africans, some escaping the Arab Spring and others seeking a ready-made first-world lifestyle.

Unfortunately, European elites are too afflicted with liberal notions of virtue to see a civilization-threatening invasion when it is upon them. Perhaps Europe can absorb a million third-worlders per year, even with a bad economy, but it cannot survive 10 or 20 million annually, and there’s no reason why that number wouldn’t come if the dissatisfied of Africa see Europe putting out the welcome mat for everyone. Plus, Africa is on track to double in population over the next 40 years, so the pressure to flee is bound to increase.

Below, Africans heading for Italian territory in 2011.

Egypt, for example, is a very crowded 82 million persons, and the New York Times reported this week that disappointment in the nation’s political direction has convinced increasing numbers to leave. Naturally the attitude is one of immigration entitlement, that the millions who want to move somewhere better can do so, and the citizens of the target nation have no say in the matter.

Which they increasingly don’t, because the elites who run things have a different idea about national sovereignty.

In 2011 the Lampedusa people demanded and got assurances from the Italian government that the boatloads of Africans would stop and most would be repatriated to Tunisia, but now the problem is as bad as ever.

RT had a decent video piece about of the situation:

The IslamVersusEurope blog recently posted this item of “asylum seekers” on Sicily demanding that their claims be processed more quickly, which looks more like a riot than a plea for better service.

Here’s more from RT.com about Italy’s efforts to make Brussels get involved in sorting out the chaos by spreading the problem around.

Italy urges EU to share burden of migrant crisis, RT.com, October 23, 2013

Italy demands an urgent shakeup of Europe’s asylum policies, as it bears the brunt of a large-scale inflow of illegal migrants from the Middle East and Africa. A leaked draft EU summit statement, however, promises no radical steps until June next year.

Aseter, a young Ethiopian in Sicily, says she is lucky. She was on a refugee boat heading from Africa to Italy the same day another boat like hers capsized in the Mediterranean, killing more than 300 asylum-seekers.

She is now prepared to put her luck to test once again, by illegally crossing EU borders together with her two companions. She is not new to taking risks, as she had to first go by foot from Ethiopia to Sudan, then travel to Libya to finally take the most nerve-racking boat ride of her life.

“In Sicily we managed to avoid getting registered. It’s illegal but we need to go further north – there’s nothing here for us,” Aseter tells RT correspondent Egor Piskunov, while she hides her face from the camera.

Under EU regulation all newcomers must seek asylum in the country where they arrive. And under Italian law anyone avoiding registration is sent home.

That does not prevent newcomers from taking their chances of trying to stay unregistered until reaching an EU country with what seems to them better opportunities. Shiferaw Genene, President of Italian Association of the Ethiopian Community believes it’s only natural.

“When you arrive here [in Italy] they give you the very minimum,” Genene told RT. “There’s no jobs, no school and you sleep in the street for six months.

Italy is one of the worst European states in this regard.” ??Italy and Greece are the most affected by the influx of refugees fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa. And that puts huge pressure on their economies, already burdened by recession. 

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso earlier acknowledged that Italy and Greece bear the brunt of the immigrants’ arrivals. He nevertheless pointed at the fact that most of the asylum seekers – 72 percent in 2012 – are eventually sent to better-off northern European countries like Germany, France, Britain, Sweden and Belgium.

Still, the number of the refugees has been increasing concurrently with the rise of anti-immigration parties all over Europe, putting the now much-needed extension of asylum protection to question.

Italy’s Prime Minister Enrico Letta called for an overhaul of the European migration policy, speaking ahead of the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, scheduled for October 24-25.

“The discussion on Thursday and Friday will be decisive for getting this on the right track and we won’t accept lowest common denominator compromises in Brussels,” Letta said as cited by Reuters.

But that seems to be exactly, what’s going to be offered at the summit, according to its draft statement obtained by AFP, which will postpone long term decisions to a summit in June next year.

Meanwhile the migrants issue gets ever more pressing with 550 asylum seekers having drowned this month alone in the Mediterranean.

“No one should be under any illusion that these tragedies are passing episodes or that they will end with the arrival of bad weather,” Letta warned.

The EU promised Italy would receive an additional 30 million euro ($40 million) to deal with the refugee crisis.

But what Italy and Greece would also like to see are new mechanisms to distribute the migrants more evenly throughout the Union and integrate them into the economy.

Another problem Italy urges the EU to solve as soon as possible is the underfunded Frontex border agency. It reportedly saved 16,000 lives in the Mediterranean in the last two years, but its budget was cut by almost a third since 2011. Italy would also like to see the launch of Eurosur, a new program to share satellite and drone surveillance data, sped up. Eurosur could help detect the rickety boats heading to European shores before a tragedy happens.

More than 32,000 migrants have arrived in Italy and Malta from Africa and the Middle East this year, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Eurostat data suggests the number of asylum applications in Italy has increased by more than 100 percent compared to last year. And Greece is second only to Germany when it comes to the highest number of pending applications.