Home FEATURED “Illegal flows of migrants are damaging all countries across the Mediterranean,” says Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni

“Illegal flows of migrants are damaging all countries across the Mediterranean,” says Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni

"Mass illegal immigration harms each and every one of us. No one benefits from this, except criminal groups who get rich at the expenses of the most fragile and use their strength even against the governments," she said.

by gary cartwright
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However, Meloni told an international conference in Rome on Sunday ( July 23rd) that her government was open to taking in more people through legal routes as “Europe and Italy needed immigration,” apparently making the distinction between skilled workers whose identities can be confirmed, and who are both needed and welcomed in Europe, and unaccompanied males of military age and without any means of identification who are currently arriving in the EU and UK en masse.

The conference, which aims to build a partnership among states on an array of topics, is hosting representatives from countries including Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Cyprus, Libya and the European Union.

Meloni, who has headed a centre-right government since October last year, is moving to engage other nations in efforts to stem mass migration and fight traffickers.

Arrivals in Italy are surging with over 83,000 people coming ashore so far this year compared to around 105,000 arriving in Italy in 2022, a figure itself representing a rise of 56 percent compared to the previous year, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Most migrants came from Libya (53,310), followed by Tunisia (32,371), Turkey (16,205), Lebanon (1,603), Algeria (1,389), and Syria (243).

The regions most affected by migrant landings were Sicily, with around 79,000 arrivals, and Calabria, with 18,100.

Meloni said the main focus of the conference was to support development in Africa, with “non-predatory, long-term partnerships … based on mutual respect.”

Strategic pact with Tunisia

In the past week the EU has signed a “strategic” pact with President Kais Saied of Tunisia to stem the flow of migration to Europe, as well as promoting economic development and renewable energy. “International human traffickers are not welcome in our country,” Tunisian President Kais Saied told the conference.

President Saied has previously accused “hordes” of migrants of a “plot” to change the country’s demographic makeup.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, like previous Prime Ministers and Home Secretaries before him,  made stopping ‘small boats’ crossing the English Channel one of his five key priorities in January 2023.

 A new Illegal Migration Bill to ‘prevent and deter unlawful migration, and in particular migration by unsafe and illegal routes, by requiring the removal from the United Kingdom of certain persons who enter or arrive in the United Kingdom in breach of immigration control’ received Royal Assent on 20th July 2023, becoming the Illegal Migration Act 2023.

The Bill imposes a duty on the Home Secretary to make arrangements for the removal of a person from the United Kingdom if they entered the UK in breach of immigration laws, if they have travelled through a safe third country en route to the UK, and if they require leave to enter or remain, but do not have it.

However, in the case of the UK such matters appear to now be in the hands not of the government but of human rights lawyers and judges and so there is little if any realistic expectation of any stem to the aforementioned flow of mostly young men of military age flowing into the country as economic migrants.

Nor is there much realistic expectation of deportation of such illegals.

Main Image: European Commission (Christophe Licoppe) – Audiovisual Service, Attribution, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=129920365

Embedded image: By Irish Defence Forces from Ireland – LE Eithne Operations 28 June 2015, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41249816

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