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Immigration beyond the Channel

Politics di

That Great Britain has never been a supporter of a Europe without borders is nothing new. However, what we are recently witnessing is an increasing rift between British approach to asylum and immigration and the one adopted by other EU members, with criticism arising from both the latter and forces within the country.

The UK, which doesn’t adhere to Schengen Agreements, has a particular position concerning the arrival of foreigners in the country. A strict policy, which doesn’t categorically exclude immigration but allows it in a controlled form. It encourages the entry of skilled workers and students, potential resources for the future. Conservatives’ key principle is simple: protecting country’s interests and security. Therefore, those who want to work hard and contribute to this goal are more than welcomed; no place for the others.

If a similar approach doesn’t draw particular attention in normal times, perspectives change when a massive wave of migrants affects the whole European territory, altering the internal balance of several countries. In the last years, Europe has witnessed two major waves of migration. The first coming from Libya, the second from Syria; both the two still in progress (though with different characteristics and intensity), both related to the breakout of conflicts in those countries, thus forcing people to look for a better future on the other shore of the Mediterranean.

These waves of refugees have provoked emergencies across first countries of arrival –above all Italy, Greece and Spain-, which had to welcome a number of people that goes beyond the capabilities of existing welcome facilities. Hence, the call for help to EU partners, in an attempt to share more equitably the burden of people arriving, thus guaranteeing them acceptable living conditions without compromising security and order of the country itself.

Britain seems to turn a deaf ear. During the Libyan crisis, Mr Cameron made the Royal Navy available for rescue operations in the Mediterranean, but categorically excluded the creation of welcome facilities in British territories. However, if help was needed, it wasn’t at sea, but on land, after the rescue. Syrian crisis did not make British government more inclined to support the EU allies. Opt-out from the UK, indeed, on EU quota system, which consists in the relocation of 160,000 refugees currently in Italy, Greece and Hungary among other EU countries, in proportion to the capacities of the country. However, British PM promises to accommodate 20,000 refuges over the next five years: quite a paltry sum if compared to the commitment of other nations, e.g. Germany, which accepted to take up to 800,000 refugees by the end of 2015. Moreover, British offer concerns only refugees still in the Middle East and not the ones already arrived in Europe, solution that –as EU members have noticed- doesn’t really help to alleviate the emergency situation in first countries of arrival.

Hot spot in EU fora, immigration issues are an element of tension between the political and social forces of the country. Major criticisms come from the Labour Party, which considers inadequate the support provided by Cameron. They refer to human rights, fundamental principles of the EU and to the history of their country, a sanctuary of hope and hospitality after the Second World War. What happened to this tradition? What do the rights enlisted in the Magna Charta and the Universal Declaration mean?

In respect to these rights, another criticism arises from a different actor, British Charities. The major disagreement is related to families’ reunions, allowed by the system in place but with several restrictions. Only spouses and children under 18 are allowed to enter the country. Adult and other relatives are excluded from these lucky people. Why? Aren’t they experiencing the same pain? If you look at children, the situation is even worse. Unaccompanied children have no right to reunite to their families, even their parents. As the traumas of war, of the escape, of the arrival in a foreign country, where they don’t even know the language, would not be enough. In addition, the distance from their loved ones, the awareness of not being able to see them and the uncertainty about their future and lives. Where are human rights?

The question is: can we do something more? Maybe yes. Hence, one wonders why a country like Britain, -built on certain values and principles and with an economic capability that allows to afford a stronger efforts- pulls back, turning his back to the EU allies, when his help is most needed, but also compromising that image of guarantor of rights that has been built over the centuries. A UK that seems to take more distance from Europe, in order to protect its borders. How far can this go before such an attitude becomes counterproductive? It is no longer just a matter of Brexit or not Brexit. It runs the risk of challenging Nation’s fundamental values, with the following implications this may have in terms of internal stability.

Europe: new coast guard protecting borders

Defence di

The European Commission has decided to establish a European border and coast guard to ensure a strong and shared management of external borders. Regarding the principle of free movement of people, the new control body will protect the Schengen area and control migratory flows, through systematic inspections, based on the comparison with relevant databases.

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“The european coast guard and border – said Frans Timmermans, first Vice President of the European Commission – will identify any weaknesses in real time, thanks to the collective capacity to effectively manage crisis situations, in which a section of the external borders is subjected to pressure”. The new body will have a reserve team fast coastguard and a park of technical equipment made available by the Member States: the Agency will be able to count on at least 1.500 experts, whose intervention can be deployed within three days, obviating the need for workers or equipment for operations.

It will set up a monitoring and risk analysis centre to control migration flows in the EU and to analyze risk and vulnerability assessments of weaknesses. Europe also enshrines a right to intervene: the Member States can apply for joint operations and rapid border interventions.

In case of significant migration that threatens the Schengen area, the Commission will establish the urgent collective. Coastguards will be part of the national coast guard and border European insofar as border control operations take place. Finally, the responsibility with respect to the internal security is fundamental, in terms of control of cross-border crime and terrorism, in terms of combating cross-border crime and terrorism along with other EU agencies and international organizations.

Viviana Passalacqua

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Winter ices migrants flows but not concerns

Miscellaneous di

Only a year ago, in 2014, the most important route into Europe for migrants was across the Mediterranean sea, in boats of up to 800 passengers from the North African coast to Italy (Lampedusa sas primary destination) or Malta: the southern route. So far in 2015, migration along the alternative eastern route has rised.

 

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Matter of fact, during 2012 a fence was erected on the border between Turkey and Greece, forcing migrants to take boats from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands or travel north to the Bulgarian border. In 2014, Bulgaria began building its own fence to prevent this.

In September 2015 alone, 156,000 immigrants took the eastern route compared to just 7,000 in the same month the previous year.

The Schengen area makes things easier once the migrants have entered Hungary or Slovenia, but, on the other hand, things are getting much harder to deal, to administrate for these countries. In early July, Hungary began building a fence on its Serbian border, forcing the migrants on the west route through Croatia, often entering Hungary from there and a second fence was built on the Croatian border in October, pushing people up to Slovenia. Actually, Slovenia is building a fence itself. Balcans countries are struggling in order to face the situation. Albanian Government has already stated that the country will make what’s in it’s possibilty to mitigate the pressure in the area.

European countries are forced, under pressure, to find long term solutions, Germany in first place.

Angela Merkel, German Chancellor and most powerful woman in the planet, is facing risks on her own political body, over migrants crise . When migrants began to arrive in large numbers over the summer, she announced publicly that they were to be welcomed rather than turned away. Considering that an imponent number of Syrians living in Turkey have been able to make a living only because of temporary employment or casual labor, but , as Turkish economy has begun to deteriorate, unemployment has grown by being unaffordable, those Syrians are also leaving Turkey. So, what’s next?

Germany is home to the vast majority of past Turkish immigrants into Europe, and tensions have long been high over the issue. Syrians have a explicit and strong case for asylum, and it is extremely hard to repatriate them. The European Union wants to keep the Balkan countries from confronting one another over migrant flows. At the same time, the bloc wants to keep borders within Europe as open as possible to preserve the union’s structure while apportioning them fairly across the Continent. The Oct. 25 summit likely discussed all of the possible solutions along the migrant route and most summits during last two years have tried the same.

As temperatures drop immigrant flow will arrest the emergency. The latest flows have also revealed a drop in the portion of migrants from Syria and a rise in Afghan and African migrants, partly because of cheap Turkish Airlines flights to North Africa. Unlike Syrians, authorities will find it much easier to send back migrants from these points of origin.

But the fact is that war keeps on radicalizing in Syrian territories, which is much more than a preview on warmer season to come: migrants are most likely not stopping their desperate journeys.

 

Sabiena Stefanaj

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Italian Defense in the global context

Europe/Policy di

The Italian Defense increases efforts to maintain stability in crisis areas, by coming to terms with the new cuts imposed on the industry and maximizing international cooperation’s benefits.

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This is the new orientation of the national military policy, inserted into a global relationship system, that on the one hand guarantees the support of operational and technological synergies, on the other hand requires efficient answers to the new challenges posed by the global geopolitical context.

While America formally asks us to confirm the commitment to contain the problem of Ukraine and to calm the relation with Russia, Europe entrusts us a leading role in resolving the crisis that closely threatens Mediterranean. This means that we must establish an “impartial” dialogue with Middle East countries, reinforce the basic relations with Egypt, resolve the Libyan issue, monitor the migration routes and take responsibility for the stability of the whole area. In this perspective, Italy must be a leader in ensuring the effectiveness of collective instruments such as the European Union and the Atlantic Alliance for the strengthening of the EU Common Security and Defence, promoting the sharing of resources between countries’ members, also in terms of fiscal incentives for military sector. According to the White Defense Paper’s directives, presented by the Minister Pinotti, Italy aims to prefer the multilateral partnerships to the bilateral ones, contrary to the past, in order to enhance the transatlantic bond thanks to the agreement between the European dimension of Defense and NATO.

After defining the euro-Atlantic and Mediterranean regions as priority areas of intervention, the presence of our soldiers in marginal operations has been considerably reduced. Of the more than thirty missions spread across all continents, therefore, remain in operational twenty-four, in the ONU, NATO and EU settings. Among these, strategic missions are MIBIL UNIFIL in Lebanon, intended to support the population and the country’s structure after the Syrian conflict; the Resolute Support in Afghanistan, consecutive to ISAF and focused on training Afghan militias; KFOR in Kosovo, which provides support to humanitarian organizations assisting refugees; the two European Union Training Missions in Mali, against local terrorist groups, and in Somalia, where Italy participates in the European strategy for the Horn of Africa security; the “Prima Parthica” operation in Iraq, in contrast to the ISIS, and finally the MIL operation in Libya, started after the civil war resulted in the fall of Gheddafi.
Viviana Passalacqua
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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.

 

Fact checking

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.

Libya: International Community is waiting Tripoli

Crucial week for the composition of national unity government. Italian Foreign Minister Gentiloni and the UN ambassador Leon are pressing Tripoli Prime Minister Abusahmin. After the agreement, International Community could decide on military operation. But Isis has published a video against Tobruk executive branch.

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“This is a warning to Haftar and his companions, the atheists who gather in Parliament, we will not be tolerant, we will have pleasure to slit yours throats.” These are the words of jihadist Abu Yahya Al-Tunsi in a video posted (“Message of Sirte”) on internet by ISIS. The threats to the Tobruk government have arrived in crucial week for the formation of the national unity government because Tripoli will must decide if it wants to sign deal.

Last 1st August, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni Bernardino Leon and the UN mediator met Prime Minister Nuri Abusahmin Tripoli in Algeria. They tried to follow up Shikat agreement of two weeks ago, when all factions, except the government supported by the Muslim Brotherhood, agreed on Libyan national unity government. Despite many difficulties in the negotiations in recent months, Tripoli has continued to negotiate: so agreement could be not so far.

This deal is urgent for International Community, especially for the Eu. After institution of Libyan national unity government, an Un military mission could start. It could include Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain and the United States which, according to La Repubblica, would provide only logistical support to the operation.

Meanwhile, on August 3rd another video was broadcast on internet. It documents torture suffered by Al-Saadi Gaddafi, the Rais second son, in Tripoli prison. These bloody images bring the opening of an investigation by the Attorney General of Tripoli.
Giacomo Pratali

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Greece, Spannaus: “Why does the EU insist on a policy that doesn’t work?”

Europe/Miscellaneous di

Greece’s debt crisis is one of the hottest geopolitical issues at the moment. Germany imposed a rescue package last week. The United States played a role of political deterrence towards the EU, to avoid the possibility that Athens could go into Moscow’s sphere of influence. To talk about these issues, European Affairs interviewed Andrew Spannaus, journalist and Director of Transatlantico.info.

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With Tsipras’s full-scale surrender, has Greece essentially become a protectorate of Brussels, or better, of Berlin?

“Europe wasted a great opportunity. After talking about the need to shift from austerity to growth, in essence nothing has changed. The European establishment – led by Germany, but don’t let the others off the hook – doubled down, using every weapon possible rather than admit to the failure of its economic policy over the last twenty years.
This is a defeat not only for Greece, but for Europe itself, which has shown 1. that it is unwilling to recognize its own mistakes, and refuses to question the fanatical adherence to budget parameters; and 2. that in this form Europe is not compatible with democracy.
The biggest question is: who’s giving the orders in Brussels and Berlin? Why does the EU insist on a policy that doesn’t work? It’s one thing to have to clean up problems and inefficiencies from the past, but the decision to make the situation worse through a policy of budget cuts and new taxes shows that something else is afoot. Europe has abandoned the best parts of its own history and now answers to other interests.”

 

“Despite the mistakes made in the past five months, I am proud that I have defended our people.” This is what Tsipras said to the Greek Parliament, at the time of the vote on the measures imposed by Europe. In your view, Did Syriza betray its electoral mandate and the result of the referendum?

“Over the past few months the Greek government alternated between a hardline position and a softer one. The goal was always to influence the negotiations and obtain some concessions. At a certain point it looked like Tsipras had decided to get serious: first with the opening towards Russia, and then the referendum. In the end though, he gave in to the blackmail and demonstrated that he wasn’t willing to risk the consequences of a full break-up.
The Greek people clearly rejected austerity; the problem is that in theory they wanted to remain in Europe as well. So while Tsipras certainly deserves some criticism, the fact remains that the two goals were incompatible: Europe = austerity, so there was no solution.
It’s not over yet. If the plan that Greece has accepted is actually implemented then the situation will get even worse; things could flair up again soon. Moreover, the political debate has changed: it’s impossible now to hide the contradictions and weaknesses of the current economic policy. Sooner or later there will be political leaders, and maybe entire countries, who will refuse to continue in this direction.”

 

The International Monetary Fund has said that Greece’s debt is unsustainable. Will the EU plan go forward anyway?

“The plan will go forward, but it won’t work. The first “rescue” packages for Greece – in which public money was used to save the private banks, in particular those in Germany and France – were supposed to create the conditions for economic recovery. The same was said for Italy. In reality the result was a drop in GDP, at catastrophic levels in Greece (-30%).
The notion that this type of debt can be repaid through spending cuts is simply absurd. The solution is to restructure and cancel part of the debt, and above all to implement a policy of investment to spur growth. This means ignoring certain dogmas, for example by increasing productive public spending. The part of the debt which is real, and not just due to speculative maneuvers, can be repaid only if the economy is actually growing; the current policy prohibits this, and thus can only fail.”

 

How big a role did the United States play in facilitating the negotiations between the EU and Greece? Was there, and is there, a real possibility that Athens could get closer to Moscow?

“A myth exists in Europe, about how the United States is against the Euro and afraid of the European Union. However, even if we were to grant the premise that the U.S. sees Europe only as a competitor, there is nothing to be afraid of as long as the current economic policy remains in place.
In the name of political union the strength and cohesion of the nations of Europe is being destroyed. The foundation of the EU was quite different, but starting in the 1990s a shift was made to the so-called “free market” policy that allowed large financial interests to dominate the economy. This is good for a few, not for the many.
Secondly, this myth has been debunked by the American position in this crisis: the U.S. didn’t want to see Europe break up, precisely due to the risk of a geopolitical shock. Tsipras showed that he understood the stakes when in St. Petersburg he said that a “new economic world is being formed,” while “the center of gravity of economic development is shifting.”
The West decided to close ranks, to avoid giving an opening to our “enemy” Putin. However the reality is that Europe’s policy of continuous austerity risks making the alternative of the BRICS even more attractive: numerous countries are already breaking away from the Western financial institutions precisely in order to avoid being controlled by a system dominated by large financial interests.”
Giacomo Pratali

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Iran nuclear deal: pros and cons

After 16 days of negotiations, yesterday the US, EU, Russia, Great Britain and China, and Iran reached historical deal on the nuclear program in Vienna. A pact that works for reduction of he production of uranium in Teheran for the next 10 years. And, at the same time, it stops sanctions and trade sanctions.

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Although this is the formal end to decades of conflict with the West, especially during the Presidency of George W. Bush, the Israel’s contrary reaction and the contemporart and inconsistent alliance between Washington and Sunni’s countries, like Saudi Arabia, could be a warning for the International Community.

Inspired by the cartel the previous April 3, the agreement includes four key points. The cut of 98% of the stocks of enriched uranium. The use of centrifuges reduced to two-thirds. The possibility, not automatic,of Alea inspections on Iran’s nuclear facilities, after approval of the court arbitrary composed by the same countries that have signed the agreement. The gradual reduction of the arms embargo within the next five years. The UN resolution is expected next week, when it meets the Security Council.

The heart of the matter between the US and Iran is mainly the use of enriched uranium for civilian and not military. But also there’s the will to create a diplomat axiswith the biggest Shiite state in the Middle East, able to support the Assad regime in Syria or Hezbollah in Lebanon and decisive in the reconquest of the north-western territories in Iraq, now under the Caliphate.

Additionally, beyond this agreement, there’s the oil question. Iran is the fourth largest producer in the world and, with the end of the embargo, will increase its production. The effect could be the oil drum’s fall in price on the International Markets. Moreover, until the seventies, Europe was the first foreign market for Teheran.

US President Obama said: “No deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East. America negotiated from a position of strength and principle and stopped the spread of nuclear weapons. The comprehensive, long-term deal, demonstrated that American diplomacy can bring meaningful change”. And warned Congress he would veto any legislation that prevented its successful implementation.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani talks about “historic deal which opened a new chapter in Iran’s relations with the world”. Eu High Representative Mogherini thinks that the deal is ‘a sign of hope for the entire world’. While is a “sigh of relief for the entire world” in Russian President Putin’s opinion.
The chorus, however, was not unanimous at all the International Community. Predictably, Israel’s response was not long in coming: “The agreement is a historical mistake. “The world is a much more dangerous place today than it was yesterday. The leading international powers have bet our collective future on a deal with the foremost sponsor of international terrorism. “In the coming decade, the deal will reward Iran, the terrorist regime in Tehran, with hundreds of billions of dollars. This cash bonanza will fuel Iran’s terrorism worldwide, its aggression in the region and its efforts to destroy Israel, which are ongoing”. Whereas an official of the government of Saudi Arabia denounced the possibility that Iran could “devastate the Middle East”.

The contradictions within the deal, as the contemporary US alliance with Saudi coalition in Yemen against Houtii (Shiite’s faction supported by Tehran), could bring a long-term strategy. The chance given by the United States and its allies to Iran is directed to the Iranian civil society. The opening to the outside could bring the Shiites and the Sunnis to talks again. This could be an effective weapon against the expansionism of the Islamic State.

Not only abroad. Much of the criticism have come from the United States’s press. Bret Stephen (Wall Street Journal) said that “the agreement will be disastrous” and “unlikely Iran’s foreign policy will change”. Indeed, the deal could backfire on Washington.

 

Giacomo Pratali

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Immigration: 150,000 arrivals in 2015

Europe di

Italy has received 7,000 migrants more than 2014. Greece 76,000. Despite Frontex operation, number of deaths in the Mediterranean has risen to 1,900. The Iom report helps us to understand this crisis.

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More than 700 immigrants landed on the Sicily shores weekend are just the latest wake-up call to a crisis for Italy and Greece. The figures released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of the Interior, certify a tragic exodus which will grow in the coming months.

The arrival in Europe of 150,000 migrants is a substantial number, but cannot be described as “an invasion,” considering that Europe is home to over 500 million people, according to Soda. “Lebanon, a country of 4 million people, is hosting 1.5 million Syrian refugees and Turkey is hosting about 2 million”, Oim report said.

According to the survey, migrants arrived in Europe by sea in 2015 are more than 150,000: 74,000 and in Italy (around 7000 more than a year) and almost 76000 in Greece (six times more than 2014). “Over 1,900 migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean so far this year, over twice the number during the same period in 2014. But the number of fatalities has started to decrease since May. This is probably due to the large presence of European Union (EU) / Frontex ships in international waters. The enhancement of the EU’s Operation Triton has enabled maritime forces to save more migrants lives in the Channel of Sicily. For Italy, the main countries of origin during the first half of 2015 were: Eritrea (18,676), Nigeria (7,897), Somalia (6,334), Syria (4,271), Gambia (3,593), and Sudan (3,589). These nationalities were also among the top 10 at this time last year. ”, Oim underlined.

Beyond Italy, the dinamic routes explaine the exponential growth of the immigration, especially Syrians and Iraqis, in Greece Islands: “One major difference has been a significant drop in the number of Syrian nationals arriving in Italy. (There were about 12,000 during the same period in 2014.) Syrians are now primarily using the Eastern Mediterranean route through Turkey and Greece. An estimated 22,582 Syrian nationals reached Greece between January and May 2015”.

Resuming on the Italian istance, Federico Soda, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean in Rome, confirmed that immigration is an European issue: “Italy is affected by mixed migration flows, which require different operational responses. The country is experiencing the arrival of not only a significant number of asylum-seekers, but also a large proportion of job-seeking migrants. Irrespective of nationality, both types must be individually screened to determine their status. The boats transporting men, women, and children attempting to reach Europe also often carry vulnerable people, such as victims of trafficking and violence, unaccompanied children, and pregnant women”, he ended.
Giacomo Pratali

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US-Russia: Obama runs the show

Europe di

Relationship between Us and Russia are becoming always colder. The G7 without Putin and the degeneration of war in Ukraine are the effects of this context.

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In the last year Washington’s strategy in the Middle East was to not bring out a State predominant in terms of economic strength and leadership in the Arab world. Meanwhile in Europe there’s a different strategy. Putin’s exclusion from the G7 and the threat of new sanctions arise from a precise intention.

Ukraine, Iran, West: the Us strategy is only one. Moscow must deal directly with Washington. And, then, go back to that bilateralism concise in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. With Europe forced even more to a marginal role. With states such as Poland and the Baltics defended by the United States. The White House which uses the Russian ruble crisis and high inflation as charges against the Kremlin

And Europe? If China is a corridor to not completely block trade relations with Russia damaged by the penalties, on the other hand it’s becoming more and more a partner of choice with regard to energy issues. Recently, in fact, the second agreement, called “Western Route”, consisting of the construction of a gas pipeline linking the Western Siberia to Beijing.

If Europe is politically supporting the United States, is even more evident that the damage to bilateral trade relations but, above all, the gas matter, could do to change course policy leader of the Old Continent.

On this regard, the Ukraine, where the fighting resumed at a level almost equal to the previous step to the agreements of Minsk, becomes once again decisive: “If the crisis in Ukraine is getting worse – Maros Sefcovic, European Commission Vice President and Head of Energy Union said – and if Russia closes the gas pipelines to Europe, we can hold out for six months. But I think that is fitting in Moscow, as we are their largest customer, “he added again.

September will be decisive to solve the war in Ukraine.The partial recognition of the pro-Russian regions autonomy could be the starting point for thawing between the US and Russia. For these reasons, Putin journey in Italy has an important political relevance. If with Renzi it was reiterated the importance of a return to historical trade and economic relations between Rome and Moscow, even more significant was the visit to Pope Francis. The Russian leader is hoping to find an ally in the Pontiff and his will of a detente between the Catholic and Orthodox.

The relations with the Vatican, the need to keep Europe as the first partner for the supply of gas, the penalties like an obstacle for economic recovery in Russia. While there might be an international recognition of the autonomy of the pro-Russian regions in Ukraine, the end of hostilities with Kiev and the direct relationship with Washington will be crucial if Putin wants to exit from the Western isolation.
Giacomo Pratali

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