clandestina

Migration and Struggle in Greece

At Luxemburg immigration meeting “…the debate came even as Spanish officials said that 18 African migrants were feared drowned in a bid to cross illegally to Spain”

Posted by clandestina on 4 June 2009

This is what the anti-immigration EU ministers discussed while  burgeoing on how to make the route to Europe more dangerous, expensive and degrading  (source):

Mediterranean migration makes EU waves as migrants lost off Spain

Luxembourg – The question of how to calm the waves of illegal migration sweeping into Europe across the Mediterranean Sea reached the European Union’s upper levels on Thursday, even as 18 migrants were reported lost at sea off Spain. “We are all very aware that the situation is quite complicated and problematic, and that many people suffer from this,” Swedish Immigration Minister Tobias Billstrom said at a meeting with EU interior ministers in Luxembourg.

In recent months, Italy, Greece, Malta and Cyprus have repeatedly called on other EU members to help them deal with the rising tide of illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean to land on their shores.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive, wants to set up a “pilot project” based on a “voluntary effort of solidarity … involving a resettlement of persons under international protection,” EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot said.

That proposal is “interesting, but not sufficient,” Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said.

But ministers from other EU states stopped short of offering to take large numbers of migrants from the Mediterranean, instead calling for a holistic and long-term solution to the problem.

“There is no quick fix to the problems at the southern sea border and the Mediterranean as a whole: we have to work with long-term goals, we have to see to it that we develop good cooperation with countries of transit and origin,” Billstrom said.

The EU should also help the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, begin work in Libya [1] – a key route for migration from Africa to Europe – to receive and identify asylum seekers, Barrot said.

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble stressed that no relocation programme would deal with the economic inequality which is the main driver of migration.

“We can’t solve the problem of poverty by bringing them all into Europe,” he said.

The debate came even as Spanish officials said that 18 African migrants were feared drowned in a bid to cross illegally to Spain.

Greece tries to sell high its geopolitical location and wants more refugee return agreements with war zones (source):

Gov’t on illegal migration via Turkey

LUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA / V. Demiris) — Greece emphasised to its EU partners here on Thursday that neighbouring Turkey, an EU candidate-state, must absolutely respect the agreements it has signed on the readmission of illegal migrants that entered Greece from its territory — a pressing issue amid an increasing flow of mostly Third World nationals attempting to reach the Union via Turkey.

Interior and Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who represented Greece at the EU Justice and Internal Affairs Council, reiterated that if Turkey wished to enter the Union as a member it must adhere to Europe’s acquis communautaire [2], of which an immigration and asylum pact entered into effect last October.

Pavlopoulos echoed Greek leadership in reminding that the neighbouring country, with which Greece’s shares an extensive maritime border in the eastern Aegean and an often porous land border in the northeast Thrace province, has not met its commitments to take back migrants entering Greece from its territory.

“We are open to the steps Turkey is taking towards Europe, but this also necessitates simultaneous steps towards its (Turkey) modernisation, particularly with respect to the acquis communautaire,” Pavlopoulos told his EU counterparts, reiterating that a landmark November 2001 Greek-Turkish protocol has not been honored by Ankara.

The Greek minister said the Union’s proposals are generally moving in the right direction, although they will have to meeting all of the EU’s needs, especially given the eastern Mediterranean particularities.

To prove his point, Pavlopoulos said Greece requested the readmission of 65,947 illegal immigrants back into Turkey, with only 2,271 returned over a span of seven years.

Finally, the Greek interior minister, who holds the law enforcement portfolio, said Athens wants the EU to sign and implement other such readmission protocols with other third countries where large numbers of illegal immigrants originate, such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Somalia.

[1]  about Libya and the business of turning it into a huge refugee camp [source]

Libya asks EU for $1bn to combat immigration

Ivan Camilleri, Brussels

Libya has asked Brussels for $1 billion (€707 million) worth of technical assistance and equipment in exchange for more collaboration with Europe on the illegal immigration front.

Following its recent decision to collaborate more closely with Italy and take back immigrants who had left from its shores, Libya is now piling pressure on the EU to provide it with boats, helicopters, trucks and other equipment in an attempt to patrol its borders.

In its efforts to offer tangible help to Malta and Italy to curb these migration flows, the EU is more inclined to offer assistance once Libya has started to show more collaboration.

The EU will be discussing the matter this week, first with EU home affairs ministers in Brussels and then through a visit by EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot to Tripoli.

“Finally Libya is engaging, and we want to build on this momentum,” an EU official told The Sunday Times.

“Libya has already sent its ‘shopping list’ to Brussels, which we estimate will cost us around $1 billion. Although we are not giving any commitments we will surely be looking at Libya’s demands more favourably once it is showing signs of collaboration.”

Libya is considered as the main African transit country for almost all the illegal immigrants arriving on Maltese and Italian shores. It is estimated that in the past two years more than 60,000 sub-Saharan Africans have made the desperate crossing on rugged boats departing Libya for Italy.

International organisations estimate that some 4,000 people drowned as their journeys ended in tragedy.

It is estimated that 20 per cent of Libya’s six million population is made up of illegal immigrants, which is causing disquiet on the domestic front since Libyans are blaming the increasing number of African migrants for a variety of social ills.

But the problem is also self-inflicted because for a number of years the country’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi, has pro-moted an open border policy and endorsed a vision of a single African state, which would allow free movement of people and goods within the continent.

This has led to about two million Africans flooding into Libya unchallenged.

Following intense pressure by Malta and Italy, particularly in recent months, the European Commission last week endorsed a set of new measures aimed to help the two member states tackle the illegal immigration problem in the short term.

These measures, which will be discussed on Thursday with EU home affairs ministers, include financial assistance, a new mechanism of ‘voluntary’ bur-den sharing which would enable member states to resettle refugees and those with asylum status from Malta and Italy.

The proposals also include the opening of UNHCR/EU reception centres in north Africa, particularly in Libya, so that asylum seekers may have their applications processed there.

“These extraordinary set of measures have been drawn up in direct response to Malta’s and Italy’s needs,” the EU official said.

“We are hoping that EU interior ministers endorse our proposals on Thursday so that we can start translating plans into action,” he said.  The Commission will need the green light from the 27 member states to start implementing these measures. Malta will be represented at the Justice and Home Affairs Council by Home Affairs Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici.

[2] some wiki info on what this is:

The term acquis communautaire, or (EU) acquis (pronounced [aˈki]), is used in European Union law to refer to the total body of EU law accumulated thus far. The term is French: acquis means “that which has been acquired”, and communautaire means “of the community”.During the process of the enlargement of the European Union, the acquis was divided into 31 chapters for the purpose of negotiation between the EU and the candidate member states for the fifth enlargement (the ten that joined in 2004 plus Romania and Bulgaria which joined in 2007). These chapters were:

  1. Free movement of goods
  2. Free movement of persons

What is interesting is that the second chapter was subsequently divided into two,

2. Free movement of persons 2. Freedom of movement for workers
3. Right of establishment and freedom to provide services

...which admits what they aim at: keep creating cheap, seasonal workers, absolutely precarious and expendable at any time, with no future prospects.

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