in Brussels, an extraordinary advice to forget the crisis of the “Ocean-Viking”

Send a message of unity from Europe and definitively end a disastrous sequence of disunity on the migration issue. This is the challenge of the extraordinary council of interior ministers of the Twenty-Seven which meets on Friday 25 November. It comes two weeks after the major diplomatic crisis between France and Italy over the hosting of theOcean-Viking and its 234 passengers. A crisis that has, however, allowed the new far-right government of Giorgia Meloni to raise the subject to the top of the continent’s political agenda.

Since the start of 2022, nearly 280,000 irregular arrivals have been recorded in Europe, according to the Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex. While around three million people enter the continent regularly each year, the phenomenon remains measured and far from the years 2015 and 2016, when more than a million migrants arrived there irregularly.

Despite this, on some migratory routes, growth rates are high, after two years of declining entries, linked in particular to Covid-19. In the South, nearly 90,000 people – a figure up by 59% – braved the waves of the Mediterranean to reach European shores, while 130,000 took the path to the Balkans – an increase of 168% on a year.

Read also our editorial: “Ocean-Viking”, a European disaster

In this context, all the Member States of the European Union (EU) wish to relaunch the discussions. “Whether it is Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, the countries of Central Europe and even the Baltic countries, all are now concerned by this question.notes a diplomat in Brussels. It is becoming necessary to find a lasting European solution. » And there is no question of sticking to the sole subject of the Mediterranean route, which concerns Italy. “We must take advantage of the moment to trigger a political dynamic in order to finally achieve the asylum and migration pact”, judges a European official. This pact, unveiled in 2020 and which brings together around ten legislative texts, has been becalmed for two years both in the Council and in Parliament.

Defensive measures

On Monday, the Commission published an action plan of around twenty measures, largely inspired by its pact, in order to prepare for the meeting of interior ministers. Although the Community executive has repeatedly reminded Italy that it must respect international law and welcome passengers rescued at sea, it gives assurances to Rome and, more broadly, to the supporters of an ever more stands firm against illegal immigration to Europe. “The climate is today hardening on these subjects throughout Europe”observes Damien Carême, an environmentalist MEP specializing in the subject.

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