Fundamental rightsBorders Immigration AsylumMediterranean sea

The “28” faced with the migrant puzzle

After the tragedy in Lampedusa, Europeans are reluctant to change their immigration policy.

(BRUSSELS) The 28 Heads of State and Government meeting in Brussels will find one more issue on their table today: immigration. This subject was not originally supposed to appear on the agenda of a meeting more dedicated to the digital economy and employment initiatives. But the tragedy of Lampedusa and the dismay of the countries of the “South” took the issue up a notch. "We can't go on like this. said a few days ago Enrico Letta, the president of the Italian council, calling on his European counterparts to raise awareness. " We have the feeling that we are abandoned in this operation. Europe cannot close its eyes » added the Maltese Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat  « The way things are going, we are building a cemetery in our Mediterranean Sea ».

A call that Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council, was careful to relay. Its official invitation letter sent to the 28 heads of state and government, which Ouest-France was able to consult, provides only a simple “ exchange of views " on the " recent tragic events at sea ". And the only consistent proposal, mentioned behind the scenes, is the creation of a “ task force » responsible for preparing a report for… the next summit in December! This caution is understandable, according to a European diplomat. The subject is sensitive with the approach of electoral deadlines, marked by a widespread push in Europe, by Eurosceptic or far-right parties. And the Nordic and central European countries, such as Sweden and Germany, believe they are already doing enough, and do not want to pay a euro more. The budget of the Frontex agency, responsible for coordinating border control, remains dramatically low: barely 60 million euros per year.

Only the European Parliament is staying the course. In a resolution passed yesterday, he calls on Europeans to a little more solidarity and responsibility ", to acquire " of a coordinated strategy » regarding immigration. He proposes in particular to have a “ distribution of asylum seekers " Between the countries. " We must distinguish between refugee asylum seekers who are people in distress requiring our help on the one hand, and economic migrants and illegal immigrants on the other.. “Explains Véronique Mathieu, UMP MEP. " We also need to have a European coast guard force. ". A generous idea, often mentioned, never realized.

Nicolas GROS-VERHEYDE for West France

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).