The Mediterranean Odyssey: is the new EU bill going to be approved?

What happened in the past couple years in the Mediterranean is not going to easily end. Thousands of people, trying to seek for a better life, a better chance, are getting on those boats, trying to cross what now can be called the Sea of Death.

In the past month, another tragedy stained those water with blood, blood of human beings who have been exploited, mistreated and robbed by those who are seen as life saviours by mistake. Those smugglers who have nothing to lose, who take people from the poorest parts of Africa, ask them all the money they earned in their lifetime for the journey of fortune, which might turn into a nightmare once they start sailing.

Children, women and elderly people are for the most part used by these criminals to get the chance to be rescued by one of the numerous Italian boats which are monitoring the area every day. But lately they started not to care about who to send to Europe, because money is all that matters.

Italy is once again the country most affected by these events and yet they have to find a solution to prevent a massive flow of people while the EU keeps watching from above.
Yes, because even the Frontex strategy did not work, in fact, another great tragedy, after the one in November 2013, hit the Italian waters: around 900 immigrants were found dead in the Strait of Sicily.

What has now been proposed in Brussels though, sounds too-good-to-be-true for Southern Europeans who have been dealing with this problem since forever. But is this bill going to be approved?
In short, the new bill should impose to every single EU country to accept part of the immigrants landing in Italy, Spain, Malta, Greece and other coastal countries. In addition, European forces have to be send to the Northern African coast to discourage the departures, by confiscating and destroying the smugglers’ boats; and to the countries of origin and transit of immigrants to give help to governments and prevent the permanence of the criminal gangs.

The bill will pass through the European Commission on Wednesday, and after this stage we will know if it will continue its iter through the Council and the European Parliament, or if it will be archived or even denied. The debate will be very interesting, but at the same time there will be many controversies. In fact, various EU countries do not consider this as the right moment for such a change, and some do not even consider it for the future, like the Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, who clearly stated that he will oppose to a law that impose a division of immigrants among all the countries of the Union. Moreover, we must take into consideration that Libya does not accept European interventions in its territorial waters, according to the Libyan UN Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi.

What has been considered the most important innovation is the proposal to set a binding quota for each country to be able to share the immigrants who already are in the European territory. For example, those staying in Malta or Southern Italy, in precarious conditions, will be sent in the 28 countries of the Union according to the quotas set for each country, to which no government can oppose. Then, each country will have to deal with all the asylum procedures or deportation in order to avoid overcrowding in those countries where the majority of immigrants want to settle, such as Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Italy and France.
In addition, a change in the asylum policies will be proposed. The target to meet is to be able to give the right of free movement to refugees of EU countries, making them European refugees instead of Italian, French or German refugees like it is happening with the current policy. This means having to deal with the UN Security Council, as it might change parts of International Law.

To sum up, this means that the battle will be very hard among EU governments on one side, and with local authorities outside the Union on the other. The only thing to do right now is to wait and see the results in a couple days, in the meanwhile, we are very curious to hear your points of view in such a delicate, yet very interesting topic. Whether you are European, African, or from other continents, we are looking forward to hear your point of view!


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