By European Movement – Rome, Paris, Warsaw, Madrid, March 24, 2023
The Mediterranean Sea claims even more victims. During the last weekend, a boat, or rather a dinghy, with 47 people – women, children, and men – tipped over into the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Passengers were at the mercy of a sea State 6. According to the icy calculation of the rescuers, seventeen people have been rescued, but thirty migrants are missing and may never be found.
These new deaths are the latest in a long list. It remains unclear who is to be held responsible. We are faced with a repetitive and grotesque performance. The situation has remained unchanged for over a decade, burying in that tomb—which the Arabs call the Middle White Sea—tens of thousands of people.
However, that number represents a fraction of all those who have given up their lives and hope for a dignified life, in the desert that separates sub-Saharan Africa from the countries bordering that sea, in the prisons of Libya, in the concentration camps in Greece, Morocco, and Turkey and in the impervious land routes of the Balkan route.
Furthermore, the European Commission decided to provide new means to the Libyan Coast Guard, thus strengthening its ability to bring back those fleeing terror and torture to a country where the inhuman treatment suffered by migrants from sub-Saharan Africa is well known.
This decision will be unacceptable for us until it will be possible to set up centers in Libya – under the control of UNHCR and IOM—to examine asylum applications or facilitate entry into legal flows or supervise assisted returns to countries of origin where bilateral agreements are feasible. In the meantime, it will be necessary to support the UN representative in promoting the stabilization process, assisted by a contact group with a Security Council initiative opposed by Russia.
If the Heads of State or Government of the European Union or their Ministers of the Interior called upon to manage police operations were to study the geography surrounding the Middle White Sea, they would realize the absurdity of a migration policy, as defined by the European Council of February 9, 2023, that is limited to:
- control of external borders,
- refusals and readmissions in the countries of origin,
- “huge investments” to create protection infrastructures on external borders,
- obstacles to the action of non-governmental organizations,
- the Ideology of the Pull Factor,
- and on the principle of country of first
A new European migration policy must be defined, going beyond the principles of reception and hospitality while respecting international conventions, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the ECHR.
It must involve as far as possible the countries of origin of migrants and asylum seekers and facilitate the consensus of public opinion particularly of the younger generation by helping to fight against the instrumentalization and unfounded ancestral fears of centuries-old movements of populations.
European Institutions should ask Eurostat for a detailed report:
- on the countries of origin of migrants and asylum seekers,
- on population development trends in developing countries and particularly in sub- Saharan Africa,
- on population growth or, better yet, on demographic decline in the countries of the European Union and on our populations aging trends,
- on the percentages of third-country nationals in the countries of the European Union broken down by region and by urban and agricultural areas,
- on ethnic community aggregations,
- on mixed marriage trends,
- on the numbers of small and medium-sized enterprises and artisans which are made up of non-EU citizens,
- gender and generational
European Institutions should ask the European External Action Service for a detailed report:
- on the real reasons underlying push factors related to internal conflicts and conflicts between states,
- on the state of desertification in sub-Saharan African countries,
- on the causes and effects of land expropriations,
- on the level of achievement of the sustainable development goals of 2030 in those countries and in particular “no poverty” and “zero hunger” (1-2), “good health” (3), “clean water” (6), “reduced inequalities” (10), “climate action” (13), “peace” and “justice” (16).
Based on these two reports, and keeping in mind that migratory flows are a world-wide phenomenon, we believe the European institutions should promote, together with the United Nations, UNHCR and IOM, by the end of the year and under the Spanish Presidency, a European conference on a new migration policy strategy based on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
It should be organized according to the model of participatory democracy adopted by the Conference on the Future of Europe and thus with the active presence of organizations working in the countries of origin, on the basis of the commitment that the Global Compact will be signed by all EU countries and therefore also by Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, which did not participate in the Marrakesh Conference in 2018 and abstained or voted against the Global Compact at the United Nations Assembly of 19 December 2018.
At the end of the conference, for us the following conclusions should be adopted:
- a new Convention to replace the Dublin Regulation in its entirety,
- a protocol, to be annexed to the Lisbon Treaty and in view of its broader revision, to go beyond Chapter 2 of Title 5 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union on policies related to border controls, asylum, and immigration,
- a proposal for an amending and supplementary budget to create a financial instrument for rescue at sea (European Sea Rescue or European Mare Nostrum) and to lay the foundations for a Euro-Mediterranean Bank to give a decisive boost to economic cooperation in the area and foster sub-regional cooperation’s,
- a mandate to the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to submit to the European Council and the European Parliament a comprehensive plan for development cooperation for the entire African continent, to help achieve the goals of sustainable development based on a public-private partnership,
- a program for the education of the younger generation that complements and strengthens reception and hospitality policies.