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Divisions in the EU over the migrant issue.

“Six EU countries have agreed to take in over 200 migrants stranded off Malta but the deal further underlines divisions in the EU over the migrant issue.

"After being stranded for five days the migrant ship Lifeline has received the authorization to dock in Malta, upon the agreement that migrants would be immediately transferred to six European countries: France Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal. The agreement was achieved not without difficulties and with a last moment temporarily withdrawal of Germany.

"Despite the hopefully positive ends, the case of the Lifeline testifies more broadly for the EU difficulties to agree on how to deal with migration flows. These difficulties have always been present, but they have been unfolded by the recent change in the Italian political scene, and the consequently stricter attitude of the new minister of interior. Confronted with the Italian refusal to accept Ong ships carrying migrants, EU countries’ deep disagreement and lack of solidarity have come to light, together with the shortcomings of current approach.

"The management of migration flows however is essential for the survival itself of the EU and touches upon its core values. First of all, migration flows are not going to end anytime soon and so far the most visible effect of increasing border controls has been to force migrants to choose alternative and more dangerous routes. This alone should be reason enough for a communal and long term approach to the issue. Migration moreover is not only a problem of the countries where migrants arrives (Italy and Greece). The real destination of migrants heading toward the Sicilian islands is Northern Europe.

"On a less concrete level, the lack of solidarity between countries, the refusal of the Visegrád group to take their share of responsibility challenges the idea itself of Europe and its core values among which the protection of Human rights and the solidarity between its members, leaving the Eu solely a free-trade area."

Dr Felicita Tramontana, Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow, Centre for the Study of the Renaissance

For further details contact

Nicola Jones, Media Relations Manager, University of Warwick, 07920531221 or N.Jones.1@warwick.ac.uk