The cost of Humanitarian Sensitivities

EPA/JJ Massey

A handout photograph provided by the British Royal Navy shows a sailor from HMS Bulwark giving water to a woman on a Royal Navy Landing Craft, in the Mediterranean Sea. HMS Bulwark, working with the Italian Coast Guard, on 07 May investigated a large rubber boat with approximately 110 individuals on board. The Italian coast guard said the British navy ship contributed to the rescue of about 100 migrants from a sinking dinghy off the Libyan coast. Italy is continuing to face an influx of sea migrants. Interior Ministry official Mario Morcone said in a parliamentary hearing that there had been 33,000 landings since January 2015, a 15-per-cent increase from the same period of 2014.

Start with 50 euros a day and go on from there


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Immigration is one of the key issues that will dominate the discussions in the coming week’s College (May 13). European Commissioner for Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos is likely to relaunch the 10-point plan that was partially rejected in the last meeting of both Foreign and Interior Ministers in Luxembourg (April 20).

Immigration needs a courageous understanding of the problem, which is a European problem and not a Greek or Italian one. Europe proper, as the northern Europeans like to call themselves, shows a great understanding when it comes to the humanitarian aspect of the problem, but they pay peanuts and thanks to the Dublin Agreements, immigrants arriving in Europe are blocked from going into Europe farther and hosted in Italy or Greece.

At this moment, neither Greece nor Italy can feed or properly support their own people. They cannot provide proper healthcare and welfare support to their own citizens. Therefore, the following question comes into play; how can ‘we’ handle millions of immigrants stopped in these two countries?

Under the circumstances, I will remind you what President Jean Claude Juncker said recently during the plenary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg while speaking on matters of immigration, If we don’t open the door, even partly, you can’t act surprised when the unfortunate from across the planet break in through the window.” We will add that the doors, in this case, are only in Italy and Greece, but the windows of Europe are full.

Talks about this matter, remind me of the talks I had when I was a young student in Napoli. We started speaking at a café after dinner and kept talking till the next morning, even after we had to change cafes as shop owners wanted to close and go home. So we ended up in the café of the train station in Piazza Garibaldi, which was open day and night. The conclusions of the talks were very similar to the conclusions of the College talks when they speak of serious structural problems, which require determination and imagination.

In our case, if Europe proper does not wish to come under unpleasant situations, they must understand that they must disburse serious amounts of money to Italy and Greece in order to keep the immigrants there, to feed them and to provide them with a sense of security as well as health services. Fifty euros per day per immigrant would be a modest amount for basic services such as a place to stay, food, health and security (both for the immigrants and the natives).

Otherwise, one beautiful sunny morning, we might hear that Greece and Italy, decided to “accommodate” all their illegal immigrants on two islands, i.e. Aghios Efstratios and Lampedusa, respectively. Then we will hear that Greece and Italy informed the European Commission that its guests, according to the Dublin Agreements, are there and are waiting for Communission assistance.

This is the real problem Europe has to deal with immediately; how to financially sustain the hosting of immigrants. To this effect, the Commission must redirect funds from various programs bringing no added value to European citizens except to a few intelligent beneficiaries, by pure coincidence, somehow related with the “system.”

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