Public Affairs Networking
27/04 – EU still unprepared to address the tragedy of the deaths in the Mediterranean

European, and other, media continue to report on the outcome of last week’s emergency EU summit on migration, and tend to say that it has failed to face the humanitarian challenge. The emergency European summit failed to provide an appropriate response, claims La Croix.

Pierre Henry, director of France Terre d’Asile, calls – in a debate broadcast on France 2 – the outcome of the European migration summit unworthy to address an issue of humanist nature. If European leaders, interior and defence ministers, and even European citizens do not come up with a way to prevent the mass deaths in the Mediterranean, the EU should return its Nobel Peace Prize, Eva Weissenberger says in an editorial for Austria’s News magazine.

What is more, according to Kristeligt Dagblad, the EU’s plan to prevent refugees from drowning in the Mediterranean reflects the union’s wish to prevent as many refugees as possible from seeking asylum in member states. Even EC President Jean-Claude Juncker was disappointed by the result of the European Council on the crisis in the Mediterranean, considering that the adopted measures were not ambitious enough, Expresso reports. Mr Juncker would also like to have seen more solidarity among member states.

The only result of the emergency EU summit on migration is that the EU will triple the budget of Operation Triton, patrolling the seas by Italy and Malta, Vilaggazdasag reports, while La Croix stresses that, although Triton’s budget has tripled, and member states can provide additional equipment, the operation’s mandate will not include rescue at sea. Despite “Europe has awoken from its lethargy” over the refugee issue after the recent tragic events in the Mediterranean, the simple policing of the area with coast guard vessels is insufficient, Wirtschaftswoche further notes.

On Deutschlandfunk, German sociologist Ludger Pries agrees with a recent assessment of the EU’s refugee policy by Amnesty International and states that while recent decisions are meant to portray Europe as being ready for the challenge, they instead show that “the EU is conducting a policy that does not address the root causes of the refugee crisis.” Jim Molan, co-author of Australia’s border control policy, argues in the Financial Times Europe that the lesson to be drawn from last week’s meeting of EU leaders is that Europe is still not prepared to address the tragedy of the deaths in the Mediterranean in the most effective and humane way possible. Europe, he stresses, has still not made up its mind about border control.

Europe should impose sovereign control of its borders, as Australia did, Jim Molan says, adding that Australia’s comprehensive policy includes offshore processing, turning back boats, regional resettlement, the removal of internal policies such as full social service payments, and the political resolve to deliver effective and humane successes in border control. The EU’s focus on human traffickers, Jim Molan further says, might be an appropriate technique – as is the need to rescue people at sea and to meet international refugee law; but the emphasis on destroying boats is frighteningly tactical and unlikely to produce the desired response.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Rai Tre reports, will consider the option of sinking boats in Libya to prevent them being used for the people-trafficking racket. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will join Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and EU HR Vice-President Federica Mogherini today aboard the San Giusto ship, to view Italy’s measures amid the immigration emergency, Italian media report. Ban Ki-moon is opposed to Europe’s plans for a military option, and said that there is no military solution to the human tragedy in the Mediterranean, Rai Tre reports, stressing that the UN wants to concentrate on the migrants’ safety and their protection. Italy, The Washington Post notes, is struggling to cope with an increasing number of migrants, which may increase during the summer, and Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said they are making plans for military intervention.

#europeanunion2015

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