Commentary. This is the true face of our Europe: rich and powerful, but increasingly selfish, closed in on itself and intent on building walls.

The route to Europe is a graveyard

The migration policy of the European Union can be expressed with one word: “outsourcing” the borders to block both the “Asian route” and the “African route.” In order to block the Asian route (from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan), the European Union signed an agreement with the dictator Erdogan, giving him €6 million to keep four million refugees in Turkey, who had fled their countries because of wars that we set off.

In the same context, Brussels is also funding Greece to keep thousands of Asian-route refugees crammed on its islands in appalling camps like the one in Moria in Lesvos, recently destroyed by a fire. Europe is showing similar cruelty with those Syrian and Afghan migrants who are trying to enter through the “Balkan route.” (The Italian government also bears serious responsibility here, as it is pushing back the migrants who are crossing our eastern border into Slovenia). To block the “African route,” the EU is outsourcing its borders, pushing them further and further south through the Rabat process for West Africa and the Khartoum process for East Africa.

The EU, through Italy, continues to support and finance the government of al-Serraj in Libya, the strongman from Tripoli, so that he can hold back the more than half a million African refugees crammed into horrible camps where the men are being tortured and the women raped (according to the UN and Amnesty). Italy is doing all this through the Italy-Libya Memorandum, shamefully renewed by the current government, but above all thanks to the Libyan Coast Guard, largely made up of criminals and human traffickers. The European Commission has stated that for 2020, €65 million have been allocated for the training of the Libyan Coast Guard. Between 2017/18, Italy has supported the Libyan Coast Guard with no less than €1.8 billion.

This is how the Libyan Coast Guard has managed to capture and bring back to the Libyan hell thousands and thousands of refugees who had tried to escape via the Mediterranean. Brussels had crushed Italy’s operation Mare Nostrum, started to save lives (and through which over 100,000 were saved), something Europe could not accept. Mare Nostrum was replaced by Operation Sofia, which was in turn replaced by Operation Irini, which only works in the Aegean to block arms traffic to Libya but cannot save human lives. (It was very intentionally designed in this way by our Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, together with the Visegrad countries).

In addition, Brussels has strengthened Frontex with planes and military vessels, certainly not for the purpose of saving lives. On the contrary, Frontex and EunavforMed are cooperating with the Libyan Coast Guard to spot the migrant boats at sea. There is no political will to save lives in the Mediterranean. This is the true face of our Europe: rich and powerful, but increasingly selfish, closed in on itself and intent on building walls.

This was also revealed by the debate on the proposal of the President of the Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, to repeal the Dublin Regulation. But Ursula had to surrender to the Visegrad ideology and xenophobic right wing, giving up the plan to build a sharing mechanism for refugee reception. “I am disappointed and embittered,” was the reaction of the MEP Pietro Bartolo, the former doctor from Lampedusa. “This is unacceptable.” Furthermore, the migration policy of our country is more and more reducible to the European one.

Many hoped for a change of pace with the yellow-red government, since Zingaretti had promised a “discontinuity” with the previous government, with the repeal of Salvini’s Security Decrees. The new Decree abolishes the most appalling clauses of the Security Decrees and provides for a new reception system for refugees managed by the municipalities. However, it still leaves the fines, from €10,000 to €50,000, for ships that save lives—that is, it criminalizes the rescue of people at sea. According to Domenico “Mimmo” Lucano, former mayor of Riace, this decree is “a palliative, not a real breakthrough. We keep treating immigration as an issue of public order and not as a resource.”

The real migration policy of this country can be seen in the closure of ports and in the fact that the ships of the NGOs are being held in ports for no real reason. For example, in the period from September 15 to 24, all the rescue ships were blocked in the ports, while 200 people died in a number of shipwrecks in the Mediterranean. If there was another Nuremberg Court, our countries would be brought before it to face trial.

In his latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis again emphasizes that migration policy is judging migrants as “less human” and that, unfortunately, many Christians share this mentality. He writes: “For Christians, this way of thinking and acting is unacceptable, since it sets certain political preferences above deep convictions of our faith: the inalienable dignity of each human person regardless of origin, race or religion, and the supreme law of fraternal love.” This is the great challenge facing Europe if it really wants to be “the home of human rights.”

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