by Rodolfo Biancheri

The word immigration is not a new word in our vocabulary of experiences.All of us, in the eyes of our neighbours, are considered immigrants in power.Above allimmigrationis a cyclical historical and sociological fact, which in recent years has assumed much higher levels than in therecentpast. 

Why is there immigration? Referring to facts that are merely structural, the economies of European countries have developed so vastly that they represent a tempting attraction for those who look at us from abroad; on the other hand, we can configure the typical profile of the migrant: an individual coming from places where the necessary amount of resources for personal or family subsistence is lacking. 

Although historically there have existed migratory flows consisting of almost all the continents of the globe, today for us Europeans it represents a key challenge for our future, not only humanitarian but also geopolitically. 

The majority of these flows come not only from the Middle East, but above all from Africa. 

Libya is a crucial cornerstone in the chessboard. 

We all remember what happened on 20 October 2011: Rais Muammar Gaddafi was deposed tragically and since then,  a dark period started, which has lasted for more than seven years and that has included a number of events: the civil war, terrorist attacks until ISIS arrived, which until 2016 controlled the city of Sirte and its surrounding areas, with some terrorist cells also present in the cities of Benghazi and Derna. 

Following the expulsion of the troops of the Islamic State, another serious problem emerged: they still live in a non-peaceful manner with two governmental entities, who seek to contend for the right to govern the land. I refer to Al Sarraj , whose Government of National Accord, based in Tripoli, claims the power of imperial, as opposed to the political reality of General Haftar, perched in his post of Tobruk. 

The political situation of this country is still very far from reaching a long-term solution and, in all this, the disoriented population is huddling on the coasts waiting to leave for a better beach, the European one. Not only are there are people from Libya, but also from other nations, including Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Mali. These countries in the Saharan and sub-Saharan areas have seen the birth of migratory routes by land organised and managed by mercenaries, which, by gaining in desperation and finding favourable policies, have made it a very profitable business. 

Being shown this very alarming situation, what was the consequential role of the European Union and in the management of migration flows? From the beginning, the first country to move in this direction was Italy with the operation Mare Nostrum of 2013, which was followed by the Frontex Operation Triton. Both had the primary purpose of patrolling the maritime mirror of the Mediterranean Sea, of saving and bringing to earth those who had travelled with the boats that the press has defined without too many ambitions “boats of hope”. Today the maritime patrol regime of the borders of the European Union is managed by Operation Themis, which has taken full effect from 1 February 2018. That being said, despite the good results that have been achieved, the immigration problem still remains of significant importance, not only because in the North African area the flows continue to thicken, but also because the arrival of immigrants towards the European coasts is creating a social problem within the countries of the Union. 

I refer to populism, of which we have political representation in all European countries, it seems an unstoppable ideological tide that is overwhelming the parties that have founded and contributed to the prosperity of our communion of people. 

You see, everything that happens in the political sphere is never an isolated phenomenon and an end in itself, indeed it is all extremely linked and consequential. The survival of our reality as a European Union (or, it would be better to say that we do not find ourselves unprepared for all those dangers that could most likely upset all those political structures that guarantee peace and balance) passes through the resolution of this unprecedented migratory phenomenon. Unfortunately, the declarations of intent are no longer enough to reassure public opinion, indeed, it is precisely from the need to recover that consensus that the population is minute by minute moving towards those demiurges who want everything except the stability of our community institutions to resonate that alarm bell that cannot be more eluded by the elites. 

“So, what do we do?” A typical question that any individual would face in a problem that seems insurmountable. A first approach may be the greater cohesion of European countries on this issue. I say this as an Italian, and I usually see my fellow citizens first take one aspect, then another, as factual reality, but one thing I’m sure; the population continues to see distant European institutions about the immigration phenomenon, the same people who have given confidence to this super-national structure, and that for a strange competition of events, it seems not to reciprocate. 

I don’t mean to be controversial with this article, but as a young European I realise that if there is a lack of spirit of brotherhood on a matter of such importance which affects all of us, I can say that in the very near future, on this particular theme, the most important game of the European Union will be played, with the hope that it can take a better direction by taking away the chance to play a resolutive Match Point from those who, this Europe, wants to destroy it. 


18 December 2018
This text was published in Bullseye issue 74