Immigration, the EU froze Italy’s will: Frontex will not substitute Mare Nostrum: “not enough means”

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The European Commission has clearly rejected Alfano’s project of terminating the national program of aid to immigrants in October in order to be substitute by the European structure: “We need to be realistic, Frontex is just a little agency, with a little budget, it’s up to Member States to do more”

The Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano reiterated it just few days ago: the operation Mare Nostrum, launched in October 2013 by Italy, “shouldn’t have its second birthday because, even though it is a commendable program, it was a term plan.” According to Minister Alfano’s ideas, reiterated in each possible instance, Mare Nostrum should have been replaced by Frontex, the European Agency for European Border Management. But the idea was swept away once more by the European Commission, which clarified it won’t be possible to “dump” the issue of immigration to Europe. One of the spokespersons of the Commission has in fact reiterated that “Frontex is a little agency, with a small budget: no coastguards, no ships, no planes,” said Antony Gravili. That is to say: the agency cannot become the only responsible for the entire, difficult, immigration chapter. “All the solution which could help Italy should have all Member States involved,” added Gravili, “we have told them several times that they should be doing more, with means and contributions.” A strong rejection of Alfano’s plans then: “We need to focus on reality” still, “we will try to rationalise the operations in order to make them more effective.”

We will now wait for the Italian reaction, given that Alfano, during the announcement of the forthcoming end of Mare Nostrum, said that “were this not to happen, the Italian government should take other decisions.” Brussels said the Commission is already in touch with the Italian Government, and that “the work done by Italy is acknowledged as magnificent,” still with “unprecedented financial aid” from the Union: “about €500 million in the 2007-2013 period; Italy will be the biggest beneficiary for the 2014-2020 period with €325 million (given the cuts to the EU balance asked by Member States).”



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