UKIP leader Nigel Farage has blamed the “fanaticism” of David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy for the boat death crisis currently taking place in the Mediterranean, saying that the bombing of Libya destabilized the country, allowing trafficking gangs to flourish.
More than 700 people were feared drowned en-route to Italy this weekend after the boat they were on capsized off the coast of Libya. Their deaths bring the total this year up to 1500, sparking high level talks between EU Ministers on what to do about the crisis.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Neil yesterday, Mr Farage said: “It was the European response that caused this problem in the first place. The fanaticism of Sarkozy and Cameron to bomb Libya. They have completely destabilized Libya, to turn it into a country with much savagery, to turn it into a place where for Christians the place is now virtually impossible. We ought to be honest and say we have directly caused this problem.
“There were no migrants coming in these quantities before we bombed the country, got rid of Gaddafi, however bad he might have been, and destabilized the whole situation.”
In 2010, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi petitioned the EU for billions of euros in exchange for ending immigration from Libya to Europe. On a trip to Rome, he told Italian Parliamentarians: “Italy needs to convince her European allies to accept this Libyan proposal – five billion euro to Libya to stop illegal immigration.
“At the moment there is a dangerous level of immigration from Africa into Europe and we don’t know what will happen. What will be the reaction of the white Christian Europeans to this mass of hungry, uneducated Africans?
“We don’t know if Europe will remain an advanced and cohesive continent or if it will be destroyed by this barbarian invasion. We have to imagine that this could happen but before it does we need to work together.”
According to Amnesty International, Italy struck a treaty deal with Gaddafi two years later in 2012, whereby Italian coastguards were allowed to pick up illegal immigrants on the Mediterranean and return them to Libya rather than taking them to Italy. The treaty contravened EU rules on human rights, which oblige member states to accept asylum seekers.
Mr Farage spoke up on behalf of Christians in the Middle East and Africa, however, saying “I am the one person that has said that I do think, especially for Christians in that part of the world, they have almost nowhere to go. I have not got a problem with us offering refugee status to some Christians from those countries.”