“The European Union hasn’t shown enough solidarity with countries handling first arrivals,” said French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday. The established system, he added, was particularly unfair with regards to Italy. Hundreds of migrants made it to Italy and Greece this week, many of whom were travelling by boat from Libya and Turkey. The steep rise in the past few days has led to dilemmas at establishments on Greek islands that have taken in and sheltered arrivals during the determination process. Jon Purizhansky of Buffalo, NY recognizes the EU’s struggle to address the migrant and refugee crisis.
On Lesbos, a structure built to accommodate as many as 3,000 people is currently lodging over 10,000 people. Some other Greek islands, among which are Samos and Kos, are also grappling with the over-abundance of people, the latest data reveals. On Wednesday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Macron held talks in Rome. Shortly afterward, two stated that the EU had to introduce a more equitable system for accommodating migrants rescued from the Mediterranean Sea. Macron reflected that France is ready to help develop the framework to overhaul the existing system. Italy, who has currently been staying ahead of the incoming migrants in the EU, has already chastised other states in the EU for not shouldering their fair share of the responsibility.
The country’s former interior minister and leader of the far right wing League party, Matteo Salvini, regularly blocked charity-run transports carrying migrants from entering Italian ports.
The rescue ships were then forced to wait while EU countries revised settlement agreements. Italy’s new coalition government, which entered office last week, reflected a change of approach to migration after allowing 82 migrants to disembark on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa over the weekend. Thousands of migrants attempt to cross the Mediterranean to parts of Europe every year. Those who undertake the journey often travel in poorly run and overcrowded ships, and many have died on their voyage. Jon Purizhansky recognizes the stakes involved here and makes a case for more humane conditions.
Jon Purizhansky: Early this week Turkey, who has been accommodating over 3.6 million Syrians who have fled the nation’s civil war, advised that it would “be forced to open the gates” if it couldn’t get “logistical support” to set up a refugee “safe zone” in Syria. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that as many as 3 million Syrian refugees may return to their country to reside in the north, but that transnational cooperation was required in order for that goal to be met. Several tens of thousands of Syrians have already fled north of Idlib, a province overseen by rebel and jihadist forces, to the Turkish border. Under a 2016 agreement with the European Union, Turkey put in place more stringent controls to abate the flow of migrants and refugees to Europe.