Migration through the Mediterranean : which European responses ?
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The Mediterranean situation: where are we going?
2018 has given us three different takes on Europe’s position on the Mediterranean situation.
Paradoxically, the one which comes closest to our shared European values came from the United Nations, with the UNHCR-IOM proposal about a “regional disembarkation mechanism” in an aim (as yet unrealised) of organising the reception for migrants rescued at sea. We supported this pragmatic initiative in July, as it would provide a much-needed lifeline at one of the most critical points.
Taking quite a different view, the EU Member States’ opinion was expressed by the conclusions of the European Council in June and was caricatured by the “vision” put out by the Austrian presidency in September that we must confront the trans-Mediterranean migrant situation by taking the position that “refugees can’t be offered unlimited migration”. On this basis, any reception must be selective and reserved for the most vulnerable – the “solidarity” of European states will come, first and foremost, before they set foot in Europe.
Lastly, the situation in the Mediterranean – whether as it is, somewhat skewed or purely fictional – has guided febrile public opinion in Europe’s “receiving” countries as they went to the polls this year.
With only six months to go until the next European elections, the second issue of our “Europe insights” magazine aims to enlighten and analyse, helping us frame the migrant question in reasonable terms. If we can do this, then all of the NGOs involved in receiving migrants (ours and so many others in Europe) can, by thinking, talking and acting together, play a constructive part in the debate.
Thierry Le Roy
President, France terre d’asile