The Wall Street Journal reports Dispute Over Naval Mission Deepens EU Fissures on Migration Policy.
A naval operation that has rescued tens of thousands of migrants in the Mediterranean hung in the balance Thursday, as a new Italian government intent on overhauling Europe’s migration policy threatened to scrap it.
>The operation, whose core mission is tackling smuggling gangs, has been a critical element of the bloc’s response to the migration crisis since its launch three years ago.
>Italy’s coalition government wants changes to the mission, Operation Sophia. One option is to change the rules so that boats bring rescued migrants not just to Italy but to ports in a number of European Union countries on a rotating basis.
>Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who leads the fiercely anti-immigration party, the League, told reporters in Rome on Thursday that if the EU doesn’t accept Italy’s proposed changes to Sophia’s rules, the government might not continue supporting the mission.
>EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini said that the discussions had shown unanimous support for the mission but that it wasn’t clear whether members could come to a compromise. She said talks would continue in coming weeks.
>German Defense Minister Ursula Von der Leyen on Thursday said that resolving the standoff over Sophia was a test of EU credibility. She also warned that Italy shouldn’t use the issue to force changes in the bloc’s broader asylum rules.
Yes and No. Its unanimous that someone do it, but there are no volunteers to do it.
French president Emanuel Macron is the biggest hypocrite of all.
Credibility? There is none.
France Pushes for Sanctions
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that EU states that benefited from the bloc yet considered only their own self-interest when it came to taking in migrants with proven asylum status should face financial penalties.
"You can't have countries that massively benefit from the solidarity of the European Union and that massively voice their national selfishness when it comes to migrant issues," he told a press conference in Paris alongside new Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
"I am in favor of sanctions being imposed in the event of no cooperation," he added.
Both Macron and Sanchez also spoke in favor of establishing closed reception centers, set up close to where migrants often arrive first in Europe, where migrants can be held while their applications for asylum are processed. The centers would be created in accordance with guidelines from the UN's refugee agency UNHCR, Macron said.
Italy's interior minister and deputy premier, Matteo Salvini, of the anti-immigration Lega party, gave an angry response to Macron's comments, saying the French president was wilfully underestimating the problems of migration for Italy.
"If it is not a problem for arrogant President Macron, we urge him to stop with the insults and show generosity with deeds opening the many French ports," Salvini said.
"If French arrogance thinks it can transform Italy into Europe's refugee camp, perhaps handing out a few euros as a tip, they've got it totally wrong," he added.
We don't want em. You keep em.
Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic boycotted the meeting. All four countries reject accepting refugees according to a mandatory resettlement scheme.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock