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    FOCSIV con Concord Europe sulle politiche migratorie nel Mediterraneo in vista del Consiglio europeo

    Guidelines for CONCORD members

    to address their Heads of State ahead the European Council of 25-26 June

    on migration and development

    Migration situation in the Mediterranean region:

    • Multiple conflicts in nearby countries, an ongoing global displacement crisis and the lack of safe passages to Europe have increased deaths in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean Sea crossing is the world’s most deadly, with 3,500 deaths recorded just last year amongst people who have been trying to reach Europe’s shores from Africa and the Middle East. It is estimated that over 1800 people have died in the Mediterranean since the beginning of this year, 50 times more than the figure recorded over the same period in 2014.
    • The majority of people who entered the EU via the Mediterranean Sea last year and many who died, come from Syria, Eritrea and Somalia and had been fleeing wars, abject chaos and despair.

     

    Current EU approach and policy, and individual countries’ measures:

     

    AT EU LEVEL:

    • Because of new tragedies and increasing pressure, the EU’s migration agenda was accelerated and included:

    – 23 April: Special meeting of the European Council (Heads of States) and the adoption of a 10 actions plan

    The EU Heads of States’ 10 actions plan[1] confirms that the EU’s top priority is the fight against trafficking, instead of saving of human lives in the Mediterranean.

    – 13 May: release of the European Commission’s European Agenda on Migration, including immediate measures to prevent human tragedies and deal with emergencies in the Mediterranean, followed by a set of implementation package adopted end of May.

    This includes notably:

    • emergency relocation of 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection from Italy and Greece
    • EU-wide resettlement scheme to offer a single EU pledge of 20,000 places
    • Action Plan against migrant smuggling including negotiations on readmission with main countries of origin of irregular migrants
    • military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean
    • Operational Plan for search and rescue operations including Triton

     

    – 26 May: Council Conclusions by the Ministers of Development

    Development Ministers in their Council Conclusions of 26 May stressed that the EU is committed to work “on root causes of irregular migration” and the “links between migration and development” and emphasized that “development cooperation can contribute to ensuring that migration is a choice rather than a necessity”.

    – 25-26 June: Migration is on the agenda of the European Council to discuss and decide about the recent measures proposed by the European Commission and a military intervention against smugglers’ boats in the Mediterranean.

     

    AT COUNTRY LEVEL:

     

    • Italy’s ‘Mare Nostrum’, the search-and-rescue operation in the Mediterranean, ended last November. It was replaced by the patrolling operation ‘Triton’, co-ordinated by the EU Frontex border agency. Mare Nostrum was a €9 million per month operation, Triton is estimated at being worth €3 million per month. Since its start in November 2014, Triton has saved some 7,000 people. Mare Nostrum saved over 140,000 in 12 months. In April[2], EU Heads of States agreed to triple the budget for search and rescue operation under Triton but within “within the mandate of FRONTEX”, that focuses on border control.

     

    • Hungary’s government just decided this week to take measures to close the border between Hungary and Serbia and build a 175 km long and 4-meter high iron curtain to prevent migration from countries such as Afghanistan or Syria. This brings this country and the whole of Europe back to one of the darkest pages of European history. This goes against all European values such as solidarity, the respect of human rights and dignity.

     

    • This week, France closed its border to a hundred of migrants stuck in the Italian border city of Ventimiglia, and got the Italian police to forcibly remove these women and men. Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, said that France’s position ran contrary to a European agreement that the ongoing migrant crisis was a shared responsibility.

     

    This is another example that EU countries have profound divergent views and are not ready for agreeing proper governance of resettlement today.

     

    CONCORD message and recommendations:

    • For CONCORD, continued and predicted tragedies at sea constitute a grave indictment of current EU approach to migration that continues focusing on security and border controls rather than on ensuring the safety of people arriving on its shores. The balance between security and migrant’ rights is deeply uneven, against the fundamental values of the European charter. Current EU border enforcement approach neither protect the fundamental human right to life nor respect international and regional treaties that require protection: for those fleeing persecution, serious human rights violations and torture; for those abused by human traffickers or smugglers; and for children.
    • CONCORD regrets that migration is clearly designed as a component of a security policy rather than a driver for development. Restrictions on mobility and border controls currently in place create lucrative markets for traffickers as people seeking protection will inevitably continue to cross the Mediterranean even at high risks for their own lives. As long as legal migration routes to Europe remain closed, lives of migrants are in danger and their right to asylum is denied.We call on Heads of State to adopt measures to open realistic legal safe channels of migration to the EU, in order to reduce irregular migration and ensure that people migrate without risking their lives. Especially, the EU should adopt proposals to enable safe, legal migration of low skilled/educated migrants, which represents the vast majority of migrants who will continue to migrate to Europe. Blue Card policy willing to “choose” our migrants is a denial of the field realities and necessity of economic migrants to seek legitimate jobs and living conditions, as well as it creates new brain and skill drains in countries of origin.
    • We call on Heads of States to take a holistic approach and investigate seriously the root causes of forced migration, these are the factors that force people to seek protection and a better life in Europe. Portraying the criminal activities of traffickers as the root causes of people migrating deliberately ignores these many factors. We call on Heads of States to reaffirm, like EU’s Development Ministers did recently, that the EU is committed to work on the “links between migration and development” , emphasizing that “development cooperation can contribute to ensuring that migration is a choice rather than a necessity”. The EU should increase investment in inclusive development, decent work and social protection in countries of origin so that migration becomes an option among others and not a necessity, for people who migrate. EU should forge a new humanitarian and development policy for preventing crisis and conflicts, in coherence with trade and common security policies; stigmatizing Member countries that support military intervention and neo-colonial policies. Furthermore, under the ‘Cooperation with third countries “, the EU must refuse to negotiate with countries that do not respect human rights.
    • We urge Heads of States to· agree on a responsibility-sharing mechanism between Member States at the forefront of the crisis and the rest of the EU and adopts a binding, and not voluntary, policy of participation by all Member States in the reception and resettlement of migrants in a way that respects human dignity and the specific needs of vulnerable groups such as women, mothers, children and youth, people with health problems etc. It is important that the solutions found by EU governments reaffirm the need to uphold asylum and refugee protection.The new Commission relocation proposal is not giving a sufficient response to the number of migrants arriving and who will arrive in next months.  We challenge the categorization of refugees used in the Commission proposal as it implies that for asylum seekers who are not eligible to relocation, European solidarity will not apply. Italy and Greece will therefore remain alone to deal with their reception. The EC relocation proposal is already an admission that the Dublin Regulation is a failure. Furthermore, we are deeply concerned that the identification process of “persons in clear need of protection” (measure mainly targeting Syrians and Eritreans) involves coercive measures, through the detention of asylum seekers in administrative centers during months. Furthermore, the identification should not be based on the nationality criteria but on the effective protection needs of the asylum seekers. Heads of States should ensure that asylum application is examined in the country chosen by the asylum seeker and that migrants’ rights and dignity is preserved at all times.
    • The plan for military naval interventions to destroy vessels is not acceptable from both political and ethical points of view as this runs high risk to put migrants’ lives in great danger. Already, some say that “collateral damages” would be inevitable. This is an intolerable military response to a humanitarian structural phenomenon. CONCORD strongly stands against such a risky military interventions and calls on the responsibility of the EU’s Heads of States to protect the lives of migrant women, men and children.

     

    [1] Statement from the Special meeting of the European Council, 23 April 2015

    [2] Id