EU Interior Ministers support Commission’s action plan to help Italy

On 6 July at an informal meeting in Tallinn, the EU Interior Ministers expressed their support for measures presented by the European Commission, concerning the overwhelming flow of migrants recently hitting Italy. The action plan includes €35 million financial aid to Rome, support to Libya’s coastguard, code of conduct for rescue ships operating in the Mediterranean Sea, and proposals of cooperation with Egypt, Niger, Ethiopia, and Sudan in repatriation of their citizens. No concrete measures have, however, been adopted in Tallinn.

More than 100,000 migrants have so far reached Europe via the Mediterranean Sea this year, with Italy forced to accept 85,000 of them. The overloaded country called upon other seaside EU members to open their ports and accept a share of rescue ships coming from the Mediterranean; this demand has, however, not been addressed at the Estonian meeting. Austria furthermore announced its readiness to send a part of its army to the Austria-Italian border in case of an escalating crisis. In a letter to his Italian counterpart, Czech Interior Minister, Milan Chovanec, also offered a financial help worth up to €800,000 in order to support EU activities aiming to reduce the migration flow from Libya, as well as a possible release of a numerous police contingent to assist Italy with the repatriation process. According to Minniti, it is essential to lower the migrants’ motivation to even reach the Libyan soil – European investments should thus primarily aim to strengthen borders in the sub-Saharan African countries and to discourage locals from making the dangerous journey up north. The solution of migration crisis in countries of origin, therefore, seems to be acquiring more distinct contours.

About author: Tomáš Hošek

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