There are thousands of people trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy illegally every year. Among them, the majority are Nigerians who flee their home country to Europe, mainly through Libya. Similarly, people from Bangladesh, Guinea, Gambia, Senegal, and Morocco also join the troop of risky crossing, Bloomberg reports.
As the BBC puts it, the word migrant refers to a group of people who “have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum.” Such group includes those who escape from “war-torn countries such as Syria, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.” In this sense, those intending to enter Europe illegally belong to this group. They flee from their countries mainly for economic reasons, in contrast to being displaced by wars or conflicts. The UN reports that this year, over 94,000 migrants have successfully crossed the Mediterranean to Italy, while more than 2,370 have died in this process. The Central Mediterranean migrant routes have caused an increasing number of deaths, with 79 percent of the migrants subjected to ruthless traffickers and exploitative practices, which may require as much as $420 million to stop them from risking lives in the process, in according to the figures provided by the UN High Commission for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration.
In fact, arriving in Italy is not the end of the nightmares. It has become increasingly urgent that a growing number of migrants have to stay in the reception centres and accommodation of the country, or even live rough due to not qualifying for international protection, having been nominally expelled. In addition, Italy cannot accommodate so many migrants and refugees at the same time, in light of what has been made clear by The Economist. In this case, the help and assistance from other European countries as well as the migrants’ home countries, are definitely necessary to better the situation.
Faced with this serious migrant issue, the European Union has been plunged into chaos, since various member states tend to react in different ways and are hesitant to provide exact help. For instance, Hungary and Poland may refuse to take in asylum seekers; Austria is even likely to deploy its army near Italy, for the purpose of shutting the Alpine border and preventing a great number of arrivals over this summer. As a result, Italy, the first destination of migrants reaching Europe, is supposed to address the problem in its own way: Rome has threatened to seal off its ports to boats and rescue vessels accused of aiding illegal migration and conniving with smugglers, according to Express. Concerning these, Gianni Pittella, a senior politician and socialist leader from Italy, argued that EU leaders should consider seriously and take actions to the mass migration issue, for the sake of the development and whole future of the bloc. In this context, he believed that EU member states ought to promote the migration policy reformation “that allocates refugees, but also so-called economic migrants, in a fair and transparent way,” as well as shoulder the responsibility for approaching the problem together.
On the home countries’ side, humanitarian protection should be offered promptly. The economic migrants’ needs can be met and fulfilled by setting up processing centres in their countries for them to apply for asylum.
Therefore, the Mediterranean crossing challenge for Italy and other European countries should be dealt with by the efforts of all these nations. The migrants’ home countries, as the source of the problem, are expected to put forward effective measures to solve the issue completely.