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Migration and asylum: very soon a summit in Malta

Europe/Policy/Politics di

By now, of course, Europe actually has taken  aware of the problem of migration. This is from a political and strategic point of view, and from a humanitarian point of view.

 

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The reflections that are produced by this phenomenon, however, has written an unimaginable amount of texts and articles and even more will be written.

What is surprising is finally just a widespread and concrete interest  by all European institutions, which eventually rely more action than in words and that, with different methods, are continually facing the problem. One of the European institutions that deals with asylum and immigration is the EASO, the European Asylum Support Office, whose motto is, precisely, “Support is our mission.” This European Agency, which operates in the Justice and Home Affairs branch has been already mentioned, here on European Affairs.

The role of the Agency, and the critical and constructive approach to the problems facing the Mediterranean and the Old Continent these days, will be subject to an official conference, to be held in Valletta, on 23 September. The event will be attended, of course, by politicians and technicians, as well as the Key Leaders of the migration system. Probably bMattias Reute, head of the General Directorate “Migration & Home Affairs” of the European Commission, and, very probably some qualified representative of ‘ UNHCR will participate.

Some authoritative representatives of several different national institutions of the Member States who deal with asylum, migration and refugees as well as the European Agencies dealing with immigration or continuous materials, such as FRONTEX, will attend.

In addition to analyzing the current situation and the proposed study of new European strategies shared, delegates will try to identify practical ways to encourage and increase cooperation and mutual aid and technical support between the Member States in the delicate area of ‘asylum and to reflect on possible synergies to be established with institutions from third countries, outside the EU, where the migration often take off. Not least, it will be studied what could be the future of the Agency, as the same may widen its expertise and its prerogatives and what could be the upcoming prospects and opportunities.

European Affairs will follow the work of this summit,that is important at this time, in the hope that the “support” provided by the EASO and Europe, should also become a means of resolving problems and, above all, providing solidarity.

 

Domenico Martinelli

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The Kurdish wars

Middle East - Africa/Politics di

Against Isis, against Erdogan’s threats, against Barzani that wants to be the president of KRG forever.

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While on the turkish border, President Erdogan is exploiting international aid to face Isis and, at the same time, try to hit the Kurds of PKK, the president of the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government), Barzani, is organizing military parades in order to retain his mandate, beyond the two-year extension already granted. KRG is the only form of government able to represent Kurdish people, divided between Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran.

The Kurdistan Regional Government was established in Iraq after the collapse of the regime of Saddam Hussein and is now subjected to the same power struggles that caused the instability of the Middle East. During the years Kurdish people were, and still are, discriminated against. Saddam Hussein has made the Kurds the target of his chemical weapons causing real massacres as in Halabja in 1988. The persecution took the traits of the genocide through the “Anfal Campaign”.

In Turkey , as well as in Syria, over the years, the persecution never stopped and Kurdish people did not get more favors. Their conditions has come to international attention since the irregular army of KRG, the Peshmarga, took their weapons to face the advancing of Isis. The pages of history books written now, will describe the heroic resistance of these mixed troops made of men and women, who fought to protect cities like Kobanî. But this is not enough for Turkey that is ready to exploit the Isis justification to attack the Kurdish army.

If the elections on June 7 in Turkey seemed to be a turning point with the entrance in Parliament of HDP; recent events like the connection of the Democratic party of the Kurdish people to PKK after exceeding the threshold of 10% of the preferences set by Erdogan, seem to record a sharp setback.In recent years, the bombings inflicted by the Turkish on the Kurds of northern Iraq never stopped and have caused the reaction of the Kurdish militants. On August 10th, the escalation of violence caused 9 victims, killed in four separate attacks. Near the US Consulate and a police station in Istanbul and near a convoy and a military helicopter in the south-east of the country, Sirkin, in Kurdish territory.

Episodes that are triggering the danger of a real civil war. The DHKP-C claimed the shots against the US consulate that brings the terrorists of the Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of the People, and PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party of Ocalan, was responsible for the two attacks in the south-east . The reasons that led Erdogan to attack the Kurds, causing their reaction, is to be found in the victory of the Kurdish minority in the last election.

The entry of HDP into Parliament has removed the AKP, the Party for Justice and Development which belongs to Erdogan, that had held absolute majority for 13 years. After the attacks of August 10, Erdogan is supporting the need to go to early elections and get back to the majority denied last June. The attacks claimed by DHKP-C and PKK will cause a loss of votes in the Kurdish party of Hdp at they will be used at his advantage. If it is not possible now to talk about a probable alliance between the guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and the terrorists of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP-C), however, it is certain that the Kurds are increasingly unwilling to accept the requests of the leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, in 2006.

From the prison of Imral he asked his fighters to seek dialogue with the Turkish government to reach a cease-fire. If the risk, in Turkey, is to come to a war against the Kurds, the chances that serious internal unrest will happen in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan are just as real . Days ago, the President of the KRG, Massoud Barzani organized a military parade in Erbil. A clear message designed to get to what he has been asking for a long time, that Is a new confirmation of his role. According to the internal laws to KRG, the presidential term of four years is extendable just for only one renewal. Then, the President decades automatically. Barzani has already achieved a two-year extension that will run out on the next August 19. However, he does not intend to give up his role. The first elections in the KRG took place in 1992. Neither political parties PUK and PKK, represented by Jalal Talabani and Masoud Barzani reached a majority and an agreement. Those conditions caused the dreadful civil war that has killed more than 3,000 civilians. When the civil war ended in 2005, Talabani became the Iraqi President and Barzani the KRG’s President.

The power of the Kurdistan Regional Presidency was stronger than the one of the Parliament and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), to counterbalance the Iraqi presidency. For the KRG, the presidency was a new institution with unlimited powers. The result is that corruption has grown exponentially, national resources have been squandered, private militias and intelligence services are increasingly loyal to their parties as opposed to the country, and there is ever-growing social inequality. The country is bankrupt and most people are struggling to make ends meet, while 10,000 millionaires and 15 billionaires have emerged in a short period of time. Society is polarized between lackeys who live on political parties’ handouts and good honest citizens who have to wait for wages that are three months behind. In fact the system is almost near a dictatorial regime than a Presidential one. It’s true that is a well-established Middle-Eastern-Fact that the presidential system only breeds dictators and corrupt leaders.

In 2013, when Barzani’s term was extended, the political system became an absolute presidency according to legistlation and the chances required by Barzani, to get the president’s powers greater than those of any other president in the region. Just to have an idea, here’s a few of the KR President’s powers: highest executive power in KR, chief of General Staff, power to dissolve Parliament, can announce a State of Emergency [without parliament’s consent], power to appoint KR’s Constitutional Court members and members of the Judges Assembly, power to control KR’s Security Council and KR’s Intelligence services and most importantly of all, the power to approve or reject legislation passed by parliament.

The oppositions tried to make alliance to oppose Barzani but every attempt has been unconclusive. When the war against IS began, only the attack to Shingal and the following capture of a 1,000 women and children made Barzani act. Before that violences Barzani was refusing to engage in the conflict. Nowadays even the war hasn’t motivated Barzani to get his act together with Yazidis and unite the Peshmerga into a strong national army. There can only be two explanations for the multidimensional crisis Barzani has dragged the nation into: either he is too weak to accept responsibility and tackle these matters head on or else he is directly involved in the wrongdoing and exploitation of national resources.

What could happen is Barzani left? The response is not easy at the moment. Now, KRG is governed from the two-party coalition of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (Kurdistan List). At the opposition we found four parties, PUK, Gorran, KIU and KIG that might accept another KDP candidate o tolerate another term for Barzani only if KDP accepts constitutional amendments to establish a full parliamentary system and limit the powers of the president.
But at the moment KDP has not an influential leader who can be accepted by both of the main wings of their party. The PUK seems to have given up on the position since they already have Iraq’s presidency. Gorran also hasn’t declared any interest in the presidency. Just one thing is certain. If the parties do not reach a consensus in the next few months, KR will face a political crisis which could potentially lead to civil unrest.
Monia Savioli

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Hungary and that mournful fence

Europe/Politics di

The hungarian government is building on Hungary-Serbia border a 4 m high and 175 km long fence in order to keep away the mounting influx of asylum-seekers, best known as “livelihood immigrants”. Hungarian institutions are running an obstinate and unfriendly policy on immigration issue. This provocative and hostile way of facing the situation reflects its pressure by changing asylum rules quite often recently. Billboards on Hungarian highways and buildings carry messages reading, “If you come to Hungary, you must respect our laws,” or “If you come to Hungary, do not take Hungarians’ jobs!” and so on. Are this slogans printed in arabic? Of course they aren’t: they’re printed in hungarian only, which cleares the meaning of what the government is expecting to achieve by hungarian locals.

Thus, immigrants, asylum seekers wich enter in hungarian territory from the Balkans, should expect to face the rejection of their requests in Hungary. The government has actually introduced a number of restrictive amendments which would expand the scope of “asylum detention”, accelerate asylum procedures so that a final decision could be taken within a few days, and limit the possibility to appeal. The regulation deprives virtually all applicants of individual assessment and fair procedure and thus puts tens of thousands at risk. As Amnesty International points out, Hunagry, definitely, dodges its obligations under national and international law to assist asylum-seekers.

 

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Hungarian’s 175 km long border with Serbia facilitates human smuggling via land routes from the south and an enormous pressure on its reception infrastructure (financed by and large by EU funds). With 42, 000 applicants registered last year, Hungary was the recipient of the second largest amount of asylum claims per capita. So far this year the influx has already surpassed 80, 000, a number that rockets the country to the top of the EU list. And whereas in 2014 almost half of all irregular migrants came from Kosovo, around 80 per cent of this year’s migrants flee from war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

On May 19, Prime Minister, Victor Orban, roared his disappointment on EU’s allegedly permissive refugee policies, calling the Commission’s quota plan “idiotic and falsely”, by “depriving Hungary of the right to protect its national borders”. As a result, the European Council proclaimed the country a special case and the subsequent Justice and Home Affairs council in July accepted that Hungary – as the one and only member state – does not take part in any one of the EU’s newly established relocation and resettlement mechanisms.

A large scale public campaign, the “National Consultation on Migration and Terrorism” was launched and sent to 8 million Hungarians. Two notions, “migration” and “terrorism” arranged to create a dangerous, a hate-policy combine, supported by the idea of migrants that are grabing huangarian’s jobs. UN High Commission for Human Rights and the Council of Europe expressed grave concerns about the far right populist trend in the Hungarian immigration debate.

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Now, for truth sake, asylum seekers in Hungary, quite the 80 per cent of them, consider to leave the country once they receive an affermative response. Durin 2014, only 9 per cent of all cases were concluded by granting refugee status or subsidiary protection. (For comparison it was 35 per cent in the UK and 40 in Germany). Thus, what for is all this yelling about? Is this just some clear, and poor demagogic propaganda? Is Orban trying to gain some easy achievement using immigration emergency all across european countries?
What’s left to be said? Memory worths it all: hungarian revolution in 1956 created a wave of 200,000 immigrants who gained the respect, the solidarity and the welcome of other countries and people from all over the world. Ironic that in the country that helped bring about the fall of the Berlin Wall by removing its western barriers along the Austrian border in 1989, the idea of this outrageous fence is highly divisive and a symbol of rising worries across Europe about the country’s political future.

Iran, stop sanctions: geopolitical and economic effects

The Un resolution officially stops Teheran trade sanctions. “It’s the only chance to stop the nuclear program” the Us government said. While it’s an important commercial solution for Europe and Italy.

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Thanks to the UN resolution on 20th July, the Security Council has approved the end of sanctions against Iran. Go ahead, then, to the pact between the 5 + 1 and Teheran found in Vienna last 14th July. The document will come into effect no earlier than 90 days.

A historical agreement for the West in geopolitical and economic point of views. Geopolitical for the United States, as noted on July 23 by the US Secretary of State Kerry: “We could certainly expect Iran fall – he told the Congress -. But it was the best possible option. I hope that the Congress (addressing to the Republican Party, ed) approve because this is the only chance to stop the nuclear program and avoid the risk of a military clash,”he concluded.

But in addition to policy issues in the Arab world, solutions are also commercial. Executive Vice President and General Manager of Saras (Italian oil refining company) Dario Scaffardi, in a summit on business and finance, as well as underlining the benefits that the decline in oil prices has already resulted in the international market, has reported that, following the end of the embargo, his group has been contacted by Iran, got back to be the protagonist of the international market of crude oil. The return to oil production from Teheran “will carry a million barrels of crude oil per day on the market once the sanctions removed. With the possibility of adding 0.5-1 million barrels quickly enough, “said the manager of Moratti family factory.

On the Italian front, also, next 4th and 5th August, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Gentiloni Economic the Minister of Economical Development Federica Guidi will travel to Iran together with representatives of Italian largest industrial groups. The goal is getting back to a significant foreign trade with Teheran. In fact, before the revolution of 1979, Europe was the first import and export partner of the former Persia. In the early 1990s, this primacy went to Russia, which, in addition to geopolitical relations of friendship, made meaningful investment on oil and gas.
Giacomo Pratali

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Libya: close to National Unity Governement

Tobruk and other factions have signed the agreement. United Nations are waiting for Tripoli’s reply.

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Tobruk, Zintan, Misurata and other faction delegates have signed in Morocco the political agreement “to create a Libyan National Unity Government” on 3rd July Friday early morning , as reported by United Nations. After several months of negotiations and the threat of International sanctions, Bernardino Leon, Un Special Representative, has achieved expected outcome from these peace talks and from fourth draft. International Community are waiting for Tripoli’s General National Congress choice for next Monday.

“Libya needs a broad-based agreement to launch its reconstruction in security”, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said. “Refusing to accept this responsibility would be grave. In the immediate future Italy will multiply its efforts to ensure that a unified position is reached rapidly on the political agreement submitted by the United Nations”, he concluded.
Giacomo Pratali

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Foreign Fighters: EU increasingly involved in the fight to terrorists.

consiglio-dei-ministri-dellunione-europea BRUSSELS: – In order to allow the best implementation of its priorities  for preventing and combating terrorism,  the Council was recently asked  to authorize the EU Commissione to sign, on behalf of the Union, the  Council of Europe’s Convention regarding the Prevention of Terrorism,  and its Additional Protocol.
Let’s start with a clarification necessary to non-experts: the European  Council, the Council of the European Union and the Council of Europe  are totally different things. The European Council is  a purely political  institution, which does not hold any legislating power. It consists of the Heads of State or Government (who participate depending on the framework of national laws) and only adopts a policy agenda of the Union.
The Council of the European Union, together with the European Parliament, is instead the body responsible for lawmaking, in the co-decision procedure. It consists of the individual national ministers, who meet each others in OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcertain “formations“, according to the subject to be discussed, and legislate on the basis of groups and subgroups within the Board, which consist of officers and directors of individual government departments, competent for items to be discussed.
The Council of Europe is an international organization totally alien to the European Union, which aims to promote democracy, human rights, the European cultural identity and the search for solutions to social problems in Europe. It is composed by 47 Member States and was created in 1949.
This mandatory digressione is useful to understand that the adoption of the Additional Protocol to the Convention is an important step forward in the view of a stronger European response to terrorism, in particular against the threat posed by the in-famous “foreign fighters”. The protocol implements some provisions of resolution 2178 (2014) of the UN Security Council on Consiglio-dEuropaterrorists foreign fighters, such as the criminalization of activities such as travel to third countries for terrorist purposes (eg to receive training) or participation in terrorist groups’ actvivities or training for the purpose of terrorism. The Convention requires all Parties to designate permanent contact points to facilitate the rapid exchange of information about persons suspected of traveling abroad for terrorist purposes.
So far, the European Union has not signed the Convention and its additional protocol, but has implemented some of their provisions in the 2008 Framework Decision on Terrorism, which will be updated in 2016. Since the Protocol is an addition to the Convention, the Commission intends to sign both at once, to open the way for the implementation of their provisions. We look forward to the EU Council, in its “Justice and home affairs” formation. We hope it will give the green light to the signing of a document that will hinder even more growth and power of the subversive terrorist networks.

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Domenico Martinelli
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