Italy is suffering from the influx of migrants, can not overcome this situation and the other EU members lack the political will to help, according to the spokesman of the UN High Commission for The refugees William Spindler.
RT: Do you think that other European states should be more involved in resolving the humanitarian crisis affecting Italy ?
William Spindler (WS): Yes, because Italy can not cope with this situation on its own. Europe as a whole could find an answer. The crisis we witnessed in 2015-2016, when Greece was in fact abandoned to itself, was the result of Europe’s inability to respond in a coherent way . Today we are witnessing the same thing with Italy. We can not let a country, whether it be Greece, Germany or Italy, take care of tens of thousands of new arrivals every single week. Europe is a total of 500 million people. They are the richest and most developed economies in the world,
All countries lack the political will to assume their responsibilities in this area
RT: Former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has called the EU “unnecessary” in the face of this situation. Why is Italy obliged to settle alone this crisis which is getting worse?
WS: It seems that not all countries have the political will to assume their responsibilities in this area. That is why only a few countries are dealing with this crisis effectively. Italy and Greece are countries on the front line, but countries such as Germany, Austria and Sweden have also accepted a large share of newly arrived migrants. The whole of Europe and the international community must play their part in this extremely complex problem. An isolated country can not cope.
RT: Some countries say they can not accept these migrants … Do you think that, as sovereign countries, they have the right to make their own decisions , decisions that would contradict the directives of Brussels?
Countries have the right to have their own migration policy and to insist that newcomers respect their rules and have the right to return them
WS: We have to differentiate between people who come for economic reasons and those who flee wars and persecutions. In international law, if you flee torture, conflict, if your life is threatened in your own country, you must be protected. Economic migration is absolutely different. Countries have the right to have their own migration policy and insist that newcomers respect their rules and have the right to send them back in a humane way and with respect for their rights. If you take the example of Italy, one third of those who landed in Italy have been granted refugee status. This implies that a third party is entitled to such protection. The other two thirds are not entitled to it. We need to find other solutions for these two thirds, Returning them to their country of origin could be one, provided that this is done safely and with dignity and that they are not threatened once they have returned home. It would be a serious message for these people, it would show them that coming to Europe is not a good idea. At the same time, legal means must be found to ensure that the most vulnerable refugees can safely come to Europe instead of making this dangerous journey, fatal for many of them.
You can not know who is an economic migrant and who is a refugee when these people are in a boat on the open sea. They are all human beings and they have to be saved
RT: The influx of migrants has increased by 20% compared to the previous year. Italy threatens to close its borders to rescue boats carrying migrants. Is this an effective means?
WS: You can not know who is an economic migrant and who is a refugee when these people are in a boat on the open sea. They are all human beings, and they have to be saved. It is the imperative, they must be safe. Then you can do an assessment to see if they really need protection, or if they have to be sent back to their country. It is not necessarily for Italy to proceed with the examination of the applications. This task can be shared between different countries.