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South Europe insists on calling for help to shield the Mediterranean

The seven presidents of the group advocate for signing more agreements with the countries of origin or transit of immigrants

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South Europe insists on calling for help to shield the Mediterranean

Europe seeks its future, after Brexit and its last crises, with several territorial and economic tensions endemic to be solved. The countries of South insist that all EU partners should give more support to so-called deadliest frontier in world "under logic that such management is in best interests of EU as a whole." The leaders of that group of Mediterranean or olive tree, meeting this Wednesday in Rome, advocate for signing more agreements with countries of origin or transit of immigrants. Italy came to meeting bragging about its good results in 2017, when arrivals fell by 30%.

The migratory issue is already part of official and informal agendas of how many summits European Union convenes. But with very indifferent interests and positions. The so-called sourn countries, led n by French President François Hollande, began to meet in Ans in 2016 to coordinate and have later reissued those appointments in Lisbon and Madrid (2017). The summit ran risk of failing with arrival of Emmanuel Macron in Elysium, but finally it has been retaken with recurrent obsession of migratory call. This concern and need for more support from rest of EU to external border by South already signed in 2014, in Alicante, n foreign ministers of France, Spain, Italy, Malta, Cyprus, Portugal and Greece, so it is without much echo.

The president of Spanish Government, Mariano Rajoy, took this Wednesday to underline from Rome that immigration is biggest challenge facing EU in future, but demanded changes. "The EU should help more at border control because national states cannot be left alone. And EU must also make an effort to endow its foreign policy with more resources. The goal must be to fight poverty in African continent and against mafia. " A base model applied by Spain with neighboring countries and allies from 2006 in Africa as Senegal, Morocco or Mauritania. That is to say, to provide aid, agreements and cooperation in origin to avoid uncontrolled emergence of irregular migrants in Europe through doors that open precisely through Mediterranean.

The Italian prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, recalled improvement experienced in 2017 applying se methods, but called for greater commitment. "We know that se results have to be consolidated on a permanent basis, also with internal rules of EU. And se seven countries can give a good example of that, "Gentiloni said. At his side, French president Emmanuel Macron also stressed need to increase coordination, solidarity and vigilance to "protect borders and allow better management and prevention and lower migration flows".

Common Asylum System

The Mediterranean countries launched a declaration which, in addition to highlighting need to walk towards a more coordinated financial and economic union, have agreed to demand that or EU partners strengn dialogue and Cooperation with African States and to raise need for a common European asylum system "based on principles of responsibility and solidarity". There was not much more to that effect. What Italy, Spain and or affected countries have started to do on ir own is to sign and execute immigrant readmission agreements to ir own nations, with important economic costs.

The case of Italy was yesterday praised by all. The Transalpine country was on verge of collapse in 2016, when migratory crisis reached its peak with 181,436 landings (according to Ministry of Interior) and was expected to increase by 2017 anor 30%. The pessimistic foresight provoked a populist turn and xenophobic tints in discourse of most political parties that reached government itself, unable to advance a fundamental law to grant citizenship to children of immigrants. During that period, Europe looked or way and requests for support were of little help.

The Minister of Interior, Marco Minniti, managed to activate a two-gang plan with divided Libyan government and army to curb migratory flow. Money, resources and training. From July Libyan coast Guard, often complicit in traffickers, began to act and drastically fell arrivals. Finally year was closed with 119,369 (to Spain arrived by land and sea 28,349).

The problem, however, was moved to Libya, where mafias that used to smuggle migrants have sought or forms of exploitation to keep business intact and humanitarian organizations have repeatedly denounced serious violations of Human rights. Indeed, Italy has been forced to open a humanitarian corridor to facilitate arrival of refugees considered vulnerable. On December 22nd first 162 arrived.

Italy, on doorstep of crucial legislative elections — on 4 March — has again bread. The political discourse has been serene and growth of xenophobic proposals for parties such as Norrn League or CasaPound or even 5-Star Movement — its candidate, Luigi di Maio, called Sea taxi drivers to NGOs operating in Mediterranean — has declined.

Unique lists and citizen initiatives

At summit of countries of Sourn Rome, in addition to immigration, or hot issues in EU were discussed, such as attempt to create a common budget or new mechanisms for deepening a banking union and a sort of European financial fund. "A real financial and economic union," said Emmanuel Macron.

The final declaration also included two more political and innovative aspects, such as draft of a single-constituency transnational list for future elections (not for next election date of 2019) and so-called citizen initiatives, with Macron wants to promote more debates and pedagogical discussions and even direct consultations on future of "a more democratic Europe". Rajoy supported that idea, in generic, and he nuanced that some of heads of Government present are not so clear.

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