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Accordo di Malta

" Nulla è stato firmato o adottato». È molto prudente il commissario europeo ai migranti Dimitris Avramopoulsull'accodo di Malta che considera solo un «paper» su cui si dovrà trovare un'intesa al prossimo Consiglio europeo di Lussemburgo. Fiducioso e ottimista per i risultati raggiunti, il commissario ricorda anche che gli sbarchi irregolari in Italia «sono diminuiti in maniera significativa rispetto agli anni precedenti».
Commissario, lei ha speso tutto il suo mandato a trovare una soluzione condivisa per la redistribuzione automatica dei migranti. L'accordo di Malta la soddisfa?
«Sì, sono fiducioso e ottimista perché sono stati compiuti buoni progressi nel delineare i contorni di un insieme di accordi fissi e strutturali, basati sul lavoro svolto dalla Commissione. Detto questo, nulla è stato ancora firmato o adottato. L'obiettivo era quello di preparare un documento da presentare al prossimo Consiglio dei ministri degli interni».
L'ex Ministro dell'Interno Matteo Salvini parla di «euro-fregatura», mentre il premier Giuseppe Conte di «passaggio storico». Come stanno veramente le cose?
«Non spetta a me commentare singole reazioni politiche. In tutti questi anni mi sono sempre astenuto dall'intromettermi nella politica interna. L'incontro a Malta è stato un passo avanti positivo, che ora dovrà essere discusso».
Non teme anche lei il rischio pool factor, ossia che con questo accordo ripartano gli sbarchi?
«Questo lavoro non dovrebbe essere visto separatamente da tutti gli altri sforzi che stiamo facendo. La nostra priorità è ridurre gli arrivi irregolari, combattere i trafficanti, facilitare i rimpatri dei migranti irregolari, nonché salvare vite umane e aprire percorsi legali, sia per le persone bisognose di protezione internazionale, sia per i migranti regolari. Ma se i migranti si trovano in mare il che dovrebbe essere un'eccezione è nostro dovere salvarli».
Nel documento non si capisce se il meccanismo di redistribuzione messo a punto interesserà solo i richiedenti asilo o tutti i migranti, anche quelli economici.
«Il documento deve essere presentato e le discussioni devono ancora svolgersi, quindi aspettiamo. La Commissione ha contribuito a ciò che è stato discusso e siamo pronti a sostenere le disposizioni temporanee di solidarietà a seguito dello sbarco. Ma non spetta a noi decidere su tali dettagli».
Rimangono esclusi i migranti che arrivano con i cosiddetti sbarchi fantasma che in Italia rappresentano circa il 90% del totale...
«Le critiche ci sono sempre, ma per ora mancano proposte alternative. Invece, dovrebbe prevalere il pragmatismo».
È comprensibile, ma almeno le linee generali?
«Posso dire che in Italia gli arrivi irregolari sono diminuiti in modo significativo rispetto agli anni precedenti. Dobbiamo concentrarci sul sostenere questo progresso. Inoltre, il nostro obiettivo è riformare il Sistema europeo comune di asilo, compreso il Regolamento di Dublino».
Le sue deleghe insieme a quelle del Commissario Pierre Moscovici, sono state quelle in cui si sono concentrate le tensioni più alte. Di cosa va particolarmente fiero?
«L'Ue ha affrontato e superato diverse crisi: dalla crisi economica a quella migratoria. Ma anche numerosi attacchi terroristici e c'è stata un'importante revisione del nostro paradigma di sicurezza. Sono proprio questi risultati di cui sono orgoglioso. Mi riferisco alle norme sulla lotta al terrorismo, sul Passenger Name Record, sulla limitazione dell'acquisto di armi da fuoco e sull'aver reso interconnessi tutti i sistemi di intelligence».
Mentre sul tema dei migranti?
«Sono orgoglioso per l'enorme Sistema operativo che abbiamo istituito: dal potenziamento della Guardia di frontiera e costiera europea al massiccio sostegno infrastrutturale».
L'egoismo dei singoli paesi è ancora molto elevato o l'integrazione europea si va concretizzando?
«Le voci del populismo e del nazionalismo sono ancora lì. Tuttavia, se guardiamo alla storia, vediamo che questi sono fenomeni ciclici. Perciò, sono fiducioso che l'Europa stia andando nella direzione giusta».
Si riferisce alle ultime elezioni?
«Esattamente. Guardate il risultato delle elezioni europee: l'affluenza alle urne è stata alta e i cittadini hanno votato in modo schiacciante per Unione  Europea, non contro "

Interview with Dimitris Avramopoulos

Migration has been the most politically toxic and divisive topic of Jean Claude Juncker's five–year period as President of the European Commission.

And it is from the 12th floor of the Commission building – in the heart of Brussels' EU quarter – where one man has had the role of managing the issue.

Before he packs up his belongings and moves on to new ventures, we wanted to hear from the outgoing EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos about his time in the role.

I began by asking him to cast his mind back to 2014, around the time of his pre–appointment interview with the European Parliament. He said then that the migration agenda for European policy would be a crucial test of the legitimacy of the European Union. Did he feel that the Commission had risen to that challenge?

Mr Avramopoulos believed that it had:

"We are not where we were five years ago, which proves that we delivered; the flow of migrants has gone down, our borders are better protected. We have set up new systems and we have beefed up the existing agencies like Europol and Frontex."

"It is very difficult to convince 28 member states to co–operate in the first place and secondly, to trust each other. This is one of the main problems for the European Union today."

I asked him to explain more about the current status of the border security agency, Frontex. The plan for the 2020 budget is to give over €100 million to the agency, putting more police on the borders. asked him if this suggested a "Fortress Europe" approach and if it wasn't just a direct response to what European governments and their voters had wanted.

Mr Avramopoulos said Europe should never be a fortress:

"I will remind you of something: the very first time this term was used was in the year 1933 by Adolf Hitler. We don't want this kind of Europe, but at the same time, we have to protect our borders.

"Right now we are really in a crucial moment. Jean–Claude Juncker said three years ago that we are crossing important and significant points. It is true. The rise of populism and nationalism is a big threat; they have gained ground."

And did he think that if the migration issue had been dealt with differently by the EU that there might not have been this swing to nationalist parties in various European elections this year?

Mr Avramopoulos cast his mind back over his five years in office for his reply:

"You are in the office where all the main initiatives were taken at the very beginning. We took everything into consideration.

"We wanted to provide support to the frontline member states and at the same time prevent irregular arrivals in central Europe too.

"It was not easy, I have to confess, to put together all the different approaches from national policies, So on the one hand, we had a European policy that we are thinking about and conducting on behalf of all Europeans and on the other hand, we are confronting the hardliners of some countries.

"Here I would like to draw a distinction between member states and governments – and governments should never forget that they come and go."

This answer led our discussion naturally onto the subject of Italy. The country has a brand new government – and a new government means new policies.

I asked him what mistakes the Commission might have made when dealing with the previous Italian government which included League leader Matteo Salvini as interior minister and deputy prime minister. I also asked what he anticipated happening with the new Italian government.

Mr Avramopoulos said the issues were to do with the country's domestic politics:

"I am afraid that a large number of Italians were convinced by all these very easy political slogans. With Salvini in the end, I had started noticing a slight change; he started as an anti-European but began articulating a more friendly political position when it came to Europe. What is happening in Italy is up to the Italian people to judge."

Salvini's position was one of criminalising organisations and individuals helping save the lives of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. What was Mr Avramopoulos' position on people like ship captain Carola Rackete?

Mr Avramopoulos believes people like Rackete are simply carrying out their duties:

"She was doing these duties based on principles. You must always pay respect to the ones who are doing their job according to principles. And I think that what happened, those are incidents that should never be repeated in the future."

On the subject of those incidents, did he feel that the European response had been on a boat-by-boat, crisis-by-crisis approach rather than informed by an over-arching;policy?

Mr Avramopoulos feared it had – and affirmed that he had repeatedly said that permanent mechanisms are needed:

"I am always pushing on the need for these permanent mechanisms. We can't go on like this in the future. All member states have to understand that now is the moment to adopt a permanent system.

"I want to be frank with you. I was very disappointed with the stance of some governments. Some believe it is a proximity issue, that it has only to do with southern Europe. That is not the case. What we try to do is adopt a strategy for all Europe.

It is up to the new leadership of the European Commission to articulate a strong pro–European political vocabulary and convince member states. I know it is not easy, but we are not here to do an easy job.

"The future of Europe is at stake if we do not manage to provide permanent solutions on the migration issue."

When Angela Merkel was speaking in the European Parliament last year, the British rightwing Eurosceptic politician Nigel Farage stood up and thanked her for contributing to Brexit due to her Open Door immigration policy in 2015. What were the Migration Commissioner's thoughts on that?

"Nigel Farage's role in Europe – and most importantly in his own country – is a very negative role and this is what historians of the future will judge one day.

"In history, there are two types of politicians and leaders who are remembered:.the ones who were there to build and those who were there to destroy."

One final topic I wanted to touch on with the Commissioner was the European Union/Turkey statement. This was made in March 2016 and was intended to "end irregular migration flows from Turkey to the EU, ensure improved reception conditions for refugees in Turkey and open up organised, safe and legal channels to Europe for Syrian refugees".

Three years later, the EU observed that the "irregular arrivals" were reduced by 97% compared to before the agreement. It also noted that the number of lives lost at sea had "decreased substantially."

Recently, however,Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had threatened to disregard the EU/Turkey statement and "open the gates."

What did the Commissioner think the repercussions might be for EU–Turkish relations?

Mr Avramopoulos had an emphatic response:

"The EU/Turkey statement should remain alive. This co–operation should remain and deepen even more in the future. This arrangement should not be used as a negotiating tools."

The Italian offer for foreigners

 

The swimming season in the Gulf of Poets, named after Shelley and Keats who dallied on this coast, lasts from May to November and along the seafront promenade you can devour a plate of spaghetti alle vongole and get change from a tenner.

Many foreigners would seriously consider selling an elderly relative in order to live here. So it’s somewhat baffling that, for the past two years, Lerici has been offering 2,400 euros (£2,117) a year to new residents to encourage them to put down roots in the town.iIT is s one of a growing number of Italian communities offering such incentives to offset ageing populations and falling numbers of residents. Hundreds of “ghost villages” have been abandoned over the decades as inhabitants moved to towns with more work or better services.

In Piedmont last year, the village of Locana offered families with children 9,000 euros to move there. Last week, the coastal region of Molise said it would pay outsiders €700 a month to live in any village of less than 2,000 people, on condition they start a business.

The number of residents in Lerici has fallen from 14,000 in the 1980s to around 10,000 now, says mayor, which has led to the closure of some shops and trades.

Migrants IN, Salvini OUT

  • Written by SOEREN KERN

  • During just the past several weeks, the number of migrant arrivals to Italy has increased incrementally.... Many of the new arrivals are reaching Italy by using new people-smuggling routes that originate in Turkey.

  • The interior ministers from France, Germany, Italy and Malta met on September 23 in the Maltese capital, Valletta, where they agreed to a tentative proposal for shipwrecked migrants to be "voluntarily redistributed" throughout the European Union.... Similar proposals have failed in the past and there is no reason to believe this one will be different, largely because the concept of European solidarity is a myth. So far only six EU states have agreed to migrant redistribution: France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain.

  • NGOs such as Open Arms claim to be playing an invaluable humanitarian role in saving the lives of refugees and asylum seekers fleeing war and oppression in their home countries. Statistics show something else entirely.

  • Salvini has condemned the new government as one "produced by Paris and Berlin, born out of a fear of giving up power, without dignity and without ideals, with the wrong people in wrong place

Vertice sull'immigrazione a Malta

Migranti, accordo fra paesi Ue: Italia non è più sola

 

Nel corso del vertice sull'immigrazione a Malta è stato raggiunto tra i Paesi partecipanti un accordo per i ricollocamenti dei richiedenti asilo in "tempi molto rapidi". Lo ha riferito il ministro dell'Interno Luciana Lamorgese al termine dei lavori del vertice. L'accordo, ha detto il ministro, prevede che "entro quattro settimane" i migranti richiedenti asilo vengano ricollocati in altri Paesi che si faranno carico delle procedure di verifica dei requisiti e degli eventuali rimpatri. Un "primo passo concreto dell'approccio ad un'azione comune europea" in tema di immigrazione, per Lamorgese, che nota come oggi siano "stati sciolti i nodi politici più delicati", e "non era così scontato