ROME, JULY 6 – Italy has pledged to allocate € 30 million of new investments aimed at preventing migrants from reaching or leaving Libya’s lawless shores where smugglers operate. Ten million euros will be given to the European Union’s trust fund for Africa, 18 million will be assigned to the IOM for voluntary repatriations of the migrants to their countries of origin, in collaboration with Libya, and other three million to the UNODC for the fight against traffickers of human beings.
“The financial resources will be allocated through the fund for Africa launched this year”, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy Angelino Alfano explained at the end of the summit of the Foreign ministers of the countries bordering Libya, taking place on Thursday in Rome, where representatives of Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Holland, Malta and Estonia, as well as delegates of the IOM and the UNHCR gathered to discuss the migration issue. Last February Italy allotted new resources to help African countries to control their borders.
Europe’s migration crisis was on the agenda at two meetings today: an informal EU-wide interior ministers meeting in Tallinn (Estonia), and a meeting in Rome of Foreign ministers from Libya, surrounding African countries and selected European partners.
The final statement of the Rome summit reaffirms that the Europe migrant crisis cannot be managed with efforts only focused in the waters of the Mediterranean. Action should be taken in Libya and in the countries of origin of the migrants, putting in place measures to strengthen border controls, dismantle the network of human traffickers and prevent the flow of migrants into Europe to be chaotic and illegal. The urgent need for a coordinated work in the south of the North African country able to guarantee security and solidarity, is also remarked in the document released at the conclusion of the meeting in the Italian capital.
In recent weeks, Italy has stepped up calls for help, pleading with its European partners to make a “concrete contribution” by opening their ports to rescue ships to share the burden. Minister Alfano outlined the Italian position in a recent interview with the “Financial Times” occurring at the same time with EU’s interior ministers meeting in Tallinn, where the migration crisis in Italy has been discussed. The summit produced controversial results: the majority of European countries has rejected the Italian proposal to open up their ports in order to support Italy in reducing the migration pressure along its Mediterranean coasts.
“We have to prevent immigrants to arrive in Libya, only then it will be possible to reduce the flow of migrants”, Minister Alfano declared after holding a bilateral meeting with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian right before the conference started:
“Today, we renew the partnership between Europe and Africa and we will continue to work tomorrow, when the Italo-Libyan Forum will take place in Agrigento (Sicily)”.
(@Onuitalia, July 6 2017)