”De Europese Unie en Tunesië hebben een akkoord bereikt over migratie. In ruil voor honderden miljoenen euro’s neemt Tunesië maatregelen om de clandestiene oversteek van migranten te stoppen. Premier Mark Rutte sprak van een ‘ware mijlpaal’.”
EU SLUIT MIGRATIEDEALMETTUNESIE
16 JULI 2023
De Europese Unie en Tunesië hebben een akkoord bereikt over migratie. In ruil voor honderden miljoenen euro’s neemt Tunesië maatregelen om de clandestiene oversteek van migranten te stoppen. Premier Mark Rutte sprak van een ‘ware mijlpaal’.
Rutte was zondag samen met voorzitter Ursula von der Leyen van de Europese Commissie en de Italiaanse premier Giorgia Meloni naar het Noord-Afrikaanse land gevlogen om de laatste obstakels uit de weg te ruimen. Een maand geleden waren ze ook in Tunis, maar toen lukte het niet om tot een deal te komen.
“Dit is een investering in onze gemeenschappelijke welvaart, stabiliteit en toekomstige generaties,” verklaarde Von der Leyen zondag na ondertekening van het akkoord. Vanuit Tunesië vertrekken migranten geholpen door smokkelaars naar Italië. Meestal reizen ze daarna door naar andere lidstaten.
Naast migratie zijn er ook afspraken gemaakt over zaken als energie en economie. De EU steekt onder meer geld in digitalisering, modernisering van het onderwijs en duurzame energieprojecten van het in economisch zwaar weer verkerende Tunesië.
De Tunesische president Kais Saied beloofde de afspraken snel te zullen invoeren. Rutte zei “bijzonder verheugd” te zijn over de deal en verwacht brede instemming van de andere EU-lidstaten. Hij wil ook de handelsbanden tussen Nederland en Tunesië aanhalen.
De deal is niet onomstreden. De autocratische president Saied onderdrukt de oppositie. Ook is er flinke kritiek op de behandeling van migranten in Tunesië. Eerder deze maand werden nog honderden migranten naar de woestijn aan de grens met Libië gestuurd na ongeregeldheden in de stad Sfax.
Rutte en Meloni waren in de EU de wegbereiders voor het akkoord. Zij zwengelden de discussie aan over de aanpak van migratie. Rutte onder druk van zijn eigen VVD, Meloni (leider van de rechts-radicale Fratelli d’Italia) vanwege de hoge toestroom van migranten naar haar land.
Tunesië werd tijdens het bezoek van het drietal een maand geleden tot 900 miljoen euro financiële hulp in het vooruitzicht gesteld. Nog eens 100 miljoen zou snel beschikbaar komen voor grensbewaking en het terugsturen van migranten. Om de eerste problemen aan te pakken kreeg het land direct 150 miljoen.
Brussel wil met meer landen tot dit soort akkoorden komen. De Tunesië-deal moet daarbij als een soort blauwdruk dienen. Het is een “model voor een nieuwe relatie met landen in Noord-Afrika,” zei Meloni. In 2016 sloot de EU een minder brede migratiedeal met Turkije.
EINDE ARTIKEL HET PAROOL
”In 1992, at 15 years of age, Meloni joined the Youth Front, the youth wing of the Italian Social Movement (MSI), a neo-fascist political party that dissolved in 1995. During this time, she founded the student coordination Gli Antenati (The Ancestors), which took part in the protest against the public education reform promoted by minister Rosa Russo Iervolino. In 1996, she became the national leader of Student Action, the student movement of the post-fascist National Alliance (AN), the national-conservative heir of the MSI, representing this movement in the Student Associations Forum established by the Italian Ministry of Education”
EDUCATION AND EARLY POLITICAL ACTIVISM
”Meloni has criticised Italy’s approach towards illegal immigrants, calling for a zero-tolerance policy, and she wants to blockade migrants from reaching Italian ports, and boost the birth rate of Italian nationals to ease the need for migrant labour. She is opposed to birthright citizenship proposals, which would give citizenship including education rights to immigrants born and living in Italy. She has linked illegal immigration and crime, and refugee arrivals to human trafficking and prostitution”
GIORGIA MELONI/IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURALISM
‘ Ms Meloni’s right-wing alliance – which also includes Matteo Salvini’s far-right League and former PM Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia – will take control of both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, with around 44% of the vote.”……..
”Ms Meloni wants a naval blockade to stop migrant boats leaving Libya, and Matteo Salvini is known to covet the job of interior minister which he held three years ago. However, he is currently on trial for barring a boat from docking as part of his policy to close ports to rescue boats.”
ITALY’S FAR RIGHT WINS ELECTION AND VOWS
TO GOVERN FOR ALL
26 SEPTEMBER 2022
Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni has claimed victory in Italy’s election, and is on course to become the country’s first female prime minister.
Ms Meloni is widely expected to form Italy’s most right-wing government since World War Two.
That will alarm much of Europe as Italy is the EU’s third-biggest economy.
However, speaking after the vote, Ms Meloni said her Brothers of Italy party would “govern for everyone” and would not betray people’s trust.
“Italians have sent a clear message in favour of a right-wing government led by Brothers of Italy,” she told reporters in Rome, holding up a sign saying “Thank you Italy”.
She is set to win around 26% of the vote, ahead of her closest rival Enrico Letta from the centre left. Mr Letta told reporters on Monday that the far-right victory was a “sad day for Italy and Europe” but his party would provide a “strong and intransigent opposition”.
Ms Meloni’s right-wing alliance – which also includes Matteo Salvini’s far-right League and former PM Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia – will take control of both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, with around 44% of the vote.
Four years ago, Brothers of Italy won little more than 4% of the vote but this time benefited from staying out of the national unity government that collapsed in July.
The party’s dramatic success in the vote disguised the fact that her allies performed poorly, with the League slipping below 9%, and Forza Italia even lower.
Their big advantage, however, was that where they were able to put up one unified candidate in a constituency, their opponents in the left and centre could not agree a common position and stood separately.
Giorgia Meloni appears certain to become prime minister but it will be for the president, Sergio Mattarella, to nominate her and that is unlikely to happen before late October.
Although she has worked hard to soften her image, emphasising her support for Ukraine and diluting anti-EU rhetoric, she leads a party rooted in a post-war movement that rose out of dictator Benito Mussolini’s fascists.
Earlier this year she outlined her priorities in a raucous speech to Spain’s far-right Vox party: “Yes to the natural family, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology… no to Islamist violence, yes to secure borders, no to mass migration… no to big international finance… no to the bureaucrats of Brussels!”
The centre-left alliance was a long way behind the right with 26% of the vote and Democratic Party figure Debora Serracchiani argued that the right “has the majority in parliament, but not in the country”.
In truth the left failed to form a viable challenge with other parties after Italy’s 18-month unity government fell apart, and officials were downbeat even before the vote. The Five Star Movement under Giuseppe Conte won a convincing third place – but did not see eye to eye with Enrico Letta even though they have several policies in common on immigration and raising the minimum wage.
Turnout fell to a record low of 63.91% – nine points down on 2018. Voting levels were especially poor in southern regions including Sicily.
Italy is a founding father of the European Union and a member of Nato, and Ms Meloni’s rhetoric on the EU places her close to Hungary’s nationalist leader Viktor Orban.
Her allies have both had close ties with Russia. Mr Berlusconi, 85, claimed last week that Vladimir Putin was pushed into invading Ukraine while Mr Salvini has called into question Western sanctions on Moscow.
Ms Meloni wants to revisit Italian reforms agreed with the EU in return for almost €200bn (£178bn) in post-Covid recovery grants and loans, arguing that the energy crisis has changed the situation.
Italy is already the second most indebted country in the eurozone and Prof Leila Simona Talani of King’s College London believes the next government will face a clutch of serious issues.
“They have no experience economically. Tax cuts will be a problem, so Italy will have less revenue and it’s heading for a recession, so it’ll face problems with the financial markets and with Europe. How will they find the money to tackle the rising energy prices?”
The Hungarian prime minister’s long-serving political director, Balazs Orban, was quick to congratulate Italy’s right-wing parties: “We need more than ever friends who share a common vision and approach to Europe’s challenges.”
In France, Jordan Bardella of the far-right National Rally said Italian voters had given European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen a lesson in humility. She had earlier said Europe had “the tools” to respond if Italy went in a “difficult direction”.
However, Prof Gianluca Passarrelli of Rome’s Sapienza University told the BBC he thought she would avoid rocking the boat on Europe and focus on other policies: “I think we will see more restrictions on civil rights and policies on LGBT and immigrants.”
Ms Meloni wants a naval blockade to stop migrant boats leaving Libya, and Matteo Salvini is known to covet the job of interior minister which he held three years ago. However, he is currently on trial for barring a boat from docking as part of his policy to close ports to rescue boats.
This election marks a one-third reduction in the size of the two houses, and that appears to have benefited the winning parties.
The make-up of the Chamber and Senate is not yet clear but a YouTrend projection said the right-wing alliance would hold as many as 238 of the 400 seats in the lower house and 112 of the 200 seats in the upper house.
As for the centre left, they are projected to have 78 seats in the Chamber and 40 in the Senate.
GIORGIA MELONI: MIGRANT’S FEAR OVER ITALY’S NEW
FAR RIGHT PRIME MINISTER
22 OCTOBER 2022
Giorgia Meloni has made history to become Italy’s first female prime minister – and will lead what will be the country’s most right-wing government since World War Two.
Her far-right Brothers of Italy party is a part of a coalition that has made reducing immigration a key part of their agenda.
For African migrants like Mustapha Jarjou in Palermo, the capital of Sicily, it heralds frightening times ahead: “I am very worried it’s going to create a lot of negative impact on the lives of migrants like me.”
The 24 year old, who is a spokesperson for the Gambian Community Association in Palermo, says the policy might fan divisions and hatred towards migrants.
He cites the murder in daylight of the disabled Nigerian street vendor, Alika Ogorchukwu, on the mainland in August as an example.
Italy is one of the main entry points into Europe and since the start of the year 70,000 migrants have arrived on boats on the country’s shores.
Ms Meloni wants to tighten the system for asylum seekers to choke off this irregular migration, which she says threatens the security and quality of life of its citizens.
She also wants to increase repatriations, target charity ships that rescue migrants who get into trouble during the Mediterranean crossing and has called for a naval blockade of North Africa.
Mr Jarjou’s journey to Italy – like that of many others – was incredibly dangerous.
He arrived here aged 17 in December 2016 having left his home in West Africa in search of a better life.
It is a miracle he made it – after leaving The Gambia and getting to Libya, his nightmare began as he was held there in prison on three occasions, each time managing to escape.
He survived a terrifying sea crossing on a dinghy before landing in Sicily, only to end up working as a farm labourer for very low pay in terrible conditions growing watermelons and tomatoes on the island’s hinterlands.
But his fortunes changed when he was issued with official documents, which he had applied for as an asylum seeker. This allowed him to move to Palermo to pursue his education.
He is currently in the second year of his nursing degree and hopes to work in a hospital in the city when he graduates.
If Ms Meloni makes good on her promises, it will be more difficult for migrants to make their status official.
“Documents are an important gateway into integration,” Mr Jarjou says – adding that without them many migrants will simply become “invisible” and be forced to eke out a bleak existence on the margins of Italian society.
He is especially worried about the threats to make it tougher for migrants to make sea crossings by criminalising charity rescue ships. This would simply lead to more deaths in the Mediterranean, he says.
‘World’s largest cemetery’
But the migrants have a powerful ally in Pope Francis, who in a speech at St Peter’s Square in the Vatican last weekend gave a passionate defence of them.
Although the pontiff did not mention Italy by name, his intervention could be seen as a rebuke of the incoming coalition’s policies.
He said the exclusion of migrants was “scandalous, disgusting and sinful”, dubbing the Mediterranean “the world’s largest cemetery” in reference to the thousands of migrants who have perished in its waters over the last few years.
“It is criminal not to open doors to those who are needy,” he said.
Despite Mr Jarjou’s fears, the city of Palermo has a long-standing reputation for being welcoming to migrants.
Situated as it is on the edge of Europe, the city became a cultural melting pot in ancient times, and one of its patron saints is Saint Benedict the Moor, the first black saint in history.
Fausto Melluso, the head of Arci Palermo, an umbrella association for 16 community groups in the city that represents 7,000 members, points out that most people in Sicily and southern Italy did not vote for Ms Meloni or vote at all. Many backed the populist Five Star Movement, led by former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Until recently an independent left-wing politician in the Palermo municipality, Mr Melluso admits he too is worried about the anti-migrant positions Ms Meloni may pursue.
He says her victory should be a “wake-up call” to challenge such attitudes and instead focus on integrating migrants into Italian society.
A 23-year-old Guinean migrant I met in the city is anxious to leave before life becomes even more difficult.
Having lived in Palermo since the age of 17, he has struggled to sort out his documents and believes Italy’s asylum system already makes it hard for migrants to integrate, often leaving them in limbo.
He speaks fluent Italian, volunteers for community groups, studies and also works as a waiter yet continually faces an uphill battle.
Every two years he has to renew his documents, which takes up a lot of time and is a tough process for migrants.
He is about to give up his job and move to France, where he has relatives and wants to go to university – though he does not know what he will do once his Italian documents expire next year.
“After six years here, nothing has changed for me. I feel like I arrived yesterday.”
” Naast migratie zijn er ook afspraken gemaakt over zaken als energie en economie. De EU steekt onder meer geld in digitalisering, modernisering van het onderwijs en duurzame energieprojecten van het in economisch zwaar weer verkerende Tunesië.”
EU SLUIT MIGRATIEDEALMETTUNESIE
16 JULI 2023
ZIE VOOR GEHELE ARTIKEL, NOOT 39