Migrants Crisis: EU may return those rescued to Libya - Trends and Politics

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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Migrants Crisis: EU may return those rescued to Libya

Against the backdrop of Italy’s threat of shutting its ports against rescued migrants, European Union (EU) Executives brainstormed on Tuesday and came up with decisions which may include patrolling the Libyan coast; and returning rescued migrants back to Libya.
The Executives also considered offering Italy more funding, to control migration across the Mediterranean, particularly from Libya.
Rome issued the threat last week, lamenting that other EU members were unwilling to take  fair share of migrants, despite her growing pains of sheltering about 400,000 migrants; 85,000 of which berthed in Italy, between January and June 2017.

A statement by the Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, highlighting the plan agreed to at the European Commissioners’ weekly meeting; and due to be put to national interior ministers on Thursday in Tallinn posited that better local rescue services would also be explored, towards ensuring that more migrants can be taken back to Libya.
The focus of our efforts has to be on solidarity with those fleeing war and persecution and with our Member States under the most pressure.
At the same time, we need to act, in support of Libya, to fight smugglers and enhance border control to reduce the number of people taking hazardous journeys to Europe,” Juncker said, adding that the Commission plans beefing up the Libya’s coastal rescue services, thereby increasing the number of people picked up close to shore by international charities.
Juncker agrees with the Italian official position requesting that the other 27 EU governments ought to do more to help them deal with thousands of people arriving weekly.
Already, the EU executive has an extra 35 million euros (40 million dolars) ready for Italy to help manage irregular immigration and renewed its readiness to mobilise EU agencies to help the Italians.
The statement also noted that 46-million-euro project with Italy would bolster Libya’s ability to make good on promises to help curb migrant traffic; alongside proposal for the deportations of failed asylum-seekers, combat smuggling networks and fund African countries from which people are fleeing poverty hoping for work in Europe.
Italy, the Commission said, should draft a code of conduct for non-governmental organisations carrying out search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, as well as speed up its processing of asylum claims and deportations of those rejected.
In the meantime, France will present new measures next week to handle the Europe-wide migration crisis and reform asylum procedures “to honour France’s tradition of hosting refugees,” Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, said on Tuesday.
In an address to the National Assembly, Philippe noted that “France has been incapable of meeting its legal and moral obligations’’ with respect to the refugee issue.
In order to overcome the “migration challenge,’’ the French government is set to unveil more tools to fight illegal migration and facilitate procedures for asylum seekers with a “requirement of dignity,” he said.
Philippe pledged to reduce the average time to process asylum requests from 14 months to six months and improve cooperation with European neighbours to fix the issue.
By the end of June, a total of 95,768 migrants and refugees had entered Europe by sea, with the majority of them flooding into Italy, Greece and Spain, figures released by the International Organisation for Migration showed.

France has already promised to take in 30,000 refugees by 2017.

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