26. Juni 2014 · Kommentare deaktiviert für Mare Nostrum – Interview Malmström (WSJ) · Kategorien: Europa, Italien, Libyen · Tags: , , , ,


„[…] CM: […] I spoke yesterday with [Italian Interior] Minister [Angelino] Alfano to see how we can help them. Because they say, “Europe is not helping,” but we are actually—a lot. We need to assess exactly how much more we can help them and what they need. Because crying for help is one thing, but you can’t sign a check—we need blankets, a reception center, a boat. They need to be more specific. They also need help with Mare Nostrum. This is something they need to discuss in the context of Frontex with the member states, to see how they can help. Mare Nosturm is a very expensive operation. I am full of admiration, it has saved thousands and thousands of lives. We have contributed a little bit from the EU but it is a very expensive operation. So to just replace it with a Frontex operation is not possible. They don’t have the money for that. The Frontex budget is €90 million and not all of that can go to operational issues. And the Mediterranean is very big.
And member states have capped the budget. Maybe some member states are willing to contribute more. Outside the context of Frontex, too, we can look at how countries can help. But I don’t think they have the economic means to continue with this.

This is a discussion they’re having in Italy, they are talking about it. The big debate is that they have to scale it down, but what do we do, what do we put there, how do we make sure people don’t die like before? They’re talking about an “exit strategy.” We cannot immediately replace Mare Nostrum with Frontex Nostrum –we don’t have that money.

[…] WSJ: All these massive numbers of people that Italy is rescuing, where are they going?

CM: It depends. Some of them that come from Syria or Eritrea will eventually be given asylum, humanitarian protection, they won’t be sent back. Some are being sent back. They have of course a problem to digest all these people. Italy has always been a very mixed picture. Some reception centers especially in the north function very well. But now with the surge, even those in the north are under such pressure that they are not functioning properly.

What we all know is that many of those people will try to leave Italy. They turn up in Stockholm or Berlin.[…]

WSJ: But isn’t that trend proof of the failure of Dublin II?

You can’t say that Dublin is unfair, but you need to register in the country where you arrive. You need to give your fingerprints and register there as an asylum seeker. And if you get asylum, you can’t leave. I can understand that this is cruel if you want to go to another country, but this is the law that has been agreed by member states. Italy did not block it at the time, two years ago. We tried to make it a little bit more flexible when it comes to children and people who turn up in other countries so there’s no automaticity. I looked at the statistics recently and of those who do turn up in a second country and are requested to be sent back, only 30% are sent back. And if you were to change asylum, you could do that, but then you would have to build up a system where asylum seekers can choose the country where they want to be. It sounds like a good human idea, but you can’t make member states agree to that. But in the future if all member states have a proper functioning asylum system, people will see that ‘yes, I will have a good, transparent, fair treatment in my asylum application and I can live a good life also in Estonia or the Czech Republic.’We won’t be there tomorrow, but in some years hopefully we’ll have a better division of responsibility.

WSJ: You wanted to talk about resettlement. That’s a disappointing picture in Europe, no?

CM: It is. There’s some good news. For instance, a country like Finland is heavily engaging. They promised 500 [refugees] and are taking 1,400 between now and the next year, which is a lot for a country like Finland. Also Austria is engaging. I was in Madrid the other day, they promised to take 150-200 people directly from Jordan. Many countries are taking them, but they are still very small numbers. I can understand if you have very little experience you can’t start with 5,000. Germany is taking 10,000 to start with and they have 30,000 already there as asylum-seekers and some Lander have promised to take even more. So Germany and Sweden are taking the most. All countries should take [refugees]. You can start with a couple of families.Many of these people, they’re asylum-seekers, traumatized by the war, but they have skills. Syrian people are generally very well-educated. They have skills that we need. They are not a burden –they can be a fantastic asset.

WSJ: It was your countryman, Swedish migration minister Tobias Bilstrom, who said to me recently, ‘Why have there not been infringement procedures’ against member states for violations? You have several times when responding to incidents in these countries said that you will not hesitate to use them. Do you think you’ve been soft on these countries?

CM: I don’t think we’ve been soft. The problem is, while you’re in the middle of a process of renegotiating asylum system laws, it’s difficult to bring countries into court. We have several infringement procedures. There’s a clear determination that we need to get to the same place and then we’ll also use infringements much more. For some of these cases, push-backs for example, it is very difficult to bring them to court because you have a story from the people who survived but you have very little proof. And if we are to bring them to court, we want to win. You can even be personally convinced that it was probably a push-back, but it’s very difficult. [A push-back is when migrants who have just crossed into a country are forcibly pushed back out.]

On the incident in Greece for example, the Farmakonissi incident, they are saying they are investigating it. I have written numerous letters. I even raised with Mr. Samaras, the prime minister. So we are watching them. But I don’t expect much to come out of it.

WSJ: On Libya, the situation there is deteriorating. Do you have any intelligence on what’s going on there? There are reports of dozens of thousands of people locked there because of the turmoil but waiting to be ferried across.

CM: This is what we hear as well. It’s a great tragedy. It’s a big country with the capacity to employ a lot of people. The [Moammar] Gadhafi regime was terrible, but it did employ millions of people who came there to work. They were paid, they could finance their families. It has the potential to become that country again, but it’s so chaotic. People say, ‘Oh, why don’t you make an agreement or a mobility partnership with Libya?’ An agreement with whom?“

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