Italy threatens France with ‘temporary visas’ for its migrants from Libya

Italy threatens France with ‘temporary visas’ for its migrants from Libya
by Martin Jay

15 June 2015 | 13:52

Source: by Martin Jay and agencies

  • by Martin Jay
  • Source: Martin Jay and agencies
  • Last update: 15 June 2015 | 13:52

Europe's growing migrant crisis – largely from Libyan boat traffickers – is making the headlines again, following last week's report that 9000 had crossed the Mediterranean.
In most cases, they reach Italy, but as reports today indicate, none wish to stay there throwing a spotlight on yet another loophole in EU laws.

Images of dozens of migrants stuck at Italy's border with France represent a "punch in the face for Europe," Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said Monday.

"It is the proof that they do not want to stay in Italy. They want to go to (other parts of) Europe and they consider our country as a transit country," Alfano told the Raitre television channel.

The minister's comments reflected mounting anger in Italy over moves by its neighbors to stem the northward flow of asylum seekers and other recently-arrived boat people.

Increased checks at border points and on cross-border buses and trains have resulted in a spike in the numbers of people being sent back to Italy in the last two weeks.

That has increased the pressure on the country's reception facilities and led to a very visible build-up of migrants sleeping rough in and around major train stations: a development that has been pounced on by far-right politicians.

At Ventimiglia, an Italian border town on the Riviera, dozens of migrants refused entry by France have been camped out since last week demanding to be allowed to cross the frontier.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi threatened on Sunday to implement a "Plan B" to deal with the migrant crisis that would "hurt" Europe.

Renzi did not specify what options he was considering but Italian media reported Monday that Rome could start issuing newly arrived migrants with temporary visas giving them the right to travel throughout Europe's border-free Schengen zone.

Such a move would be politically explosive as it would undermine the Dublin accords under which EU governments agreed that asylum requests should be processed by the member state where the applicant first arrived.
Italy is also considering preventing British, French, German and other naval ships from landing migrants rescued in the Mediterranean at its ports, effectively forcing those countries to accept responsibility for them.

More than 57,000 people from Africa, the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent have landed in Italy since the start of the year and more than 220,000 since the start of 2014.

Today, at a press conference hosted by London based rights group, Amnesty International, Lebanon and Jordan were blamed for the mounting numbers of boat people – who are mostly Africans, but in increasing numbers Syrian refugees who can't enter the neighbouring countries to the Syrian conflict.
Amnesty International's Security General, Salil Shetty says "the refugee crisis is one of the defining challenges of the 21st century, but the response of the international community has been a shameful failure."

"The world can no longer sit and watch while countries like Lebanon and Turkey take on such huge burdens. No country should be left to deal with a massive humanitarian emergency with so little help from others, just because it happens to share a border with a country in conflict," says Shetty.


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