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Italy’s dismissal of Aquarius refugees marks new low in EU solidarity

13/06/2018

Italy’s dismissal of Aquarius refugees marks new low in EU solidarity

The Italian government has been roundly condemned by Left MEPs for their refusal to allow the 629 refugees stranded on board the Aquarius to come ashore.

The plight of the refugees - now supposedly on their way to Spain - was the main focus of a European Parliament debate today on the topic of humanitarian emergencies in the Mediterranean, EU solidarity and prospects for the reform of the Dublin Regulation.

Speaking first for GUE/NGL, Barbara Spinelli (Independent, Italy) pointed out the hypocrisy in Emmanuel Macron’s criticisms of the Italian government’s decision on Tuesday but said that Italy also has a duty of care:

“Macron accuses Rome of cynicism but, at the same time, he has cynically and selfishly closed the French borders with Italy."

“In any case, we should not exonerate Rome from its responsibilities. But first and foremost, we should take into account the negotiating deadlock regarding the Dublin IV Regulation: the sleep of solidarity produces monsters almost everywhere in the Union. For this reason, I support the proposal made by Verhofstadt to bring, as Parliament, an action before the Court of Justice against the Council for failure to act, based on article 265 TFUE.”

Italian MEP Eleonora Forenza (L'Altra Europa con Tsipras, Italy) thanked all the mayors who have offered to let the Aquarius dock in their ports, but strongly condemned the Five Star Movement for their part in this saga:

“So I ask my colleagues in the Five Star Movement: what else do you call someone who celebrates the suffering endured by these 629 humans, if not racist and xenophobic?”

“Moreover, who is President Macron to lecture us when we all remember what happened in Bardonecchia and Ventimiglia!?”

Meanwhile, Paloma López (Izquierda Plural, Spain) expressed serious concerns over the precedence set by Italy in breaching EU law:

“If we allow member states to continue to violate international law on migration with impunity - as with the Aquarius case - then the EU loses all legitimacy and it’ll become the breeding ground for xenophobia and fascism.”

Miguel Urbán (Podemos, Spain) welcomed the incumbent Spanish government’s decision to accept the 629 migrants but said that EU solidarity is being undermined by domestic politics and liberal selfishness:

“The international law on refugees and the European migration policy cannot depend on gestures of goodwill.”

“Despite that from a liberal perspective - every man for himself - solidarity is understood only as the sum of voluntary deeds but without a social contract.”

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