World View: France, Italy Have Bitter Feud over Migrants as Quota System Collapses


This morning’s key headlines from

  • EU’s new migrant quota system appears to be near collapse
  • France, Italy have bitter feud over migrants as quota system collapses
  • South Africa defies International Criminal Court, al-Bashir flies free

EU’s new migrant quota system appears to be near collapse

Migrants in Italy's border with France demanding that France let them in (EPA)
Migrants in Italy’s border with France demanding that France let them in (EPA)

In late May, the EU government in Brussels enacted a quota system that would distribute some 60,000 migrants to different countries, based on a calculation that looked at each country’s size, GDP and unemployment rate. France has a quota of 7,000. Germany has a quota of 8,700. Sweden has a quota of 1,300.

However, Britain and Ireland opted out, and Denmark and Poland said they also would do so. Then France became reluctant, and Italy was furious that it may be left to deal with the tsunami of migrants by itself. So now, just three weeks later, the whole quota system appears to be collapsing.

Italy is threatening to retaliate by issuing so-called Schengen visas to migrants. The Schengen treaty is a core principle on which the European Union was founded, in that it permits free travel across borders throughout most of the EU. In fact, the EU is staging special events this week to celebrate 30 years of borderless travel in the Schengen area.

If this threat is carried out, and Italy issues thousands of Schengen visas to migrants, then the visas will cease to be honored, and another core part of the European Union will be over.

EU officials will meet on Tuesday in Luxembourg to try to resolve the problem. Guardian (London) and ITV (London)

France, Italy have bitter feud over migrants as quota system collapses

For several days, about 200 migrants from Africa have been trying to cross the border between France and Italy, but French police have been blocking their entrance.

That was just the latest incident in a continuing issue. In the preceding week, 1,439 illegal immigrants had been arrested by law enforcement authorities in France, and over 1,000 were forced to return to Italy.

French officials say that they are following the letter of the law, which says that migrants must be processed by the country in which the first land. According to France’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve:

The Dublin rules must be respected. When migrants arrive in France that have been through Italy and registered there, European law applies and that means they must be returned to Italy.

Italian officials are becoming increasingly furious that they are being forced to deal with the migrant problem almost alone. Even under the proposed quota system, only 24,000 immigrants from Italy would be distributed to other countries, a small fraction of the the 100,000 to 200,000 immigrants expected in 2015.

Italy’s prime minister Mario Renzi said on Sunday that the severity of the crisis “should not be underestimated,” adding, “Redistributing just 24,000 people is almost a provocation.”

According to Renzi, if Italy does not receive help and solidarity from other EU members in welcoming immigrants, then Italy will institute a “Plan B that would be a wound inflicted on Europe.” He didn’t say what Plan B would entail. Vice News and Independent (London) and Reuters

South Africa defies International Criminal Court, al-Bashir flies free

As we reported yesterday, international law required South Africa to arrest Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir and turn him over to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has charged him with war crimes for the rape, torture and slaughter of hundreds of thousands of civilians by the Sudan government forces in the Darfur genocide.

South Africa is a signatory to the ICC charter, and so was obligated to arrest al-Bashir while he was on South African soil attending an African Union summit. The case was even being contested in a South African court. But while this court was in session, al-Bashir was permitted to board his private jet and return to Sudan.

This incident throws the future of the ICC into doubt. The ICC depends on member countries to meet their commitments. The South African government violated the rulings of its own courts, as well as its contract with the ICC. CNN and Al Jazeera

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Italy, France, Schengen region, European Union, Bernard Cazeneuve, Mario Renzi, South Africa, Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, Darfur, International Criminal Court, ICC, African Union
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