Migration, EU: Italy is not alone

“Italy is not alone, Europe stands with Italy”. That is what the Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos constantly repeated in his speech, in Brussels, on the stepping up with the assistance to Italy. The EU Commission, under Italian authorities pressure, has awarded an amount of €13.7 million in emergency funding from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) to Italy.

Lampedusa, ItalyMigrants leave the immigration centre through a fence on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa February 19, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Indeed the Commission decided to extend the Joint Operation Triton until the end of 2015. These funds will be allocated in the following manner: €11.95 million will be granted to the assistance of unaccompanied minors, whose number increased by 278% compared with 2013. While €1.715 million will be granted to continue the project "Praesidium", which is implemented by the Italian authorities together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organisation for Migration, Save the Children Italy and the Italian Red Cross. "Praesidium" focuses on the first arrival procedures, mainly in Sicily, including the first reception, medical screening, legal information and special support for vulnerable asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors. “Today we face a stark reality: Europe needs to manage migration better, in all aspects. And this is above all a humanitarian imperative. No, we cannot replace Italy in the management of the external borders but we can lend a helping hand. So we will extend Operation Triton and we will increase its resources if this is what Italy needs. At the same time, we are not building Fortress Europe” said the Commisioner Avramopoulos, who also added that Europe is a Continent built by migration, the migrant blood is part of the EU citizens blood vessels. Brussels confirms its support to increase resources whenever Italy will request. At the moment 500 million of euro are expected to be allocated to Italy between 2014 an 2020. The Joint Operation Triton coordinated by Frontex, the Agency of control of external borders, started last November, after the end of Mare nostrum. According to the data of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, since Mare nostrum ended the number of victims increased of 60%.

For the EU Commissioner for Migration, one of the priorities is to understand the reasons of these migrations, Europe, as he said, is determined to fight against traffickers and to face this human tragedy from its origins. The member states and the Commission are working on a common migration policy , on the 4th of March the first meeting will be held between the six commissioners involved in Foreign Affairs. “Solidarity needs to be concrete, no country is able to face this drama alone” Avramopoulos said. Regarding the infiltrations of terrorists on disembarkations from Lybia, the Commission said Europe does not have to be scared from the provocations by terrorists, there is concern, but there is no evidence of that. EU is working on a Security Agenda as well. “As we work to tackle the dramatic situation in Libya, we have decided to step-up our partnership with third countries along the main migratory routes as part of our cooperation on the Khartoum and Rabat processes. This should help to dismantle criminal networks of traffickers and smugglers and to give maximum protection to those in need, starting with areas neighboring crises”  Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, said.

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