Italy has a migration problem, just not the one it thinks it does. To illustrate the challenges facing the country, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini continues to point south, at people coming by boat across the Mediterranean.
As global migration has increased in recent years, international attention has focused on the electoral success of anti-immigrant political parties and populist leaders in Europe and North America. But just as the movement of people across international borders is not limited to countries in those regions, nor is the politicization of the immigration issue.
Since the peak of the European refugee crisis in the summer of 2015, the ‘management’ of migration and refugee flows between Africa and Europe is high on academic and policy agendas. A dominant perception is that European development aid has a significant role to play in stemming present and prevent future massive influxes to Europe. This shall primarily occur by way of reducing the root causes of forced displacement and improving migration management.
Many Europeans fear that the adverse effects of climate change might create the next huge wave of African refugees trying to reach the European shores. And yet, according to numerous studies, human mobility in the context of climate change in Africa is mainly happening within countries or between neighbouring countries. But what else do we actually know about “climate migration” in Africa? And which policy recommendations could be formulated?
In President Donald Trump’s February 5 State of the Union Address, he all but strayed from his unwavering stance that there is a national crisis at the southern U.S.-Mexico border, due to the supposed illicit crossing of immigrants who threaten “the safety, security, and financial well-being of all America”. Trump did, however, voice his favor for legal immigration, and the responsibility the U.S. has to protect those who have entered the country legally.
Just one week away from the Marrakech conference where world leaders are expected to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), discussions are heating up, both in parliaments and in the media.
Unseaworthy dinghies, swinging in rough seas, having to withstand the weight of men, women, and children. Hundreds of thousands of people, marching together towards Hungary’s barbed-wire fences. European diplomats, desperately looking for a way to manage the chaos. Soldiers at the borders, crammed reception centres, shoes washed up on shores.
The debate in Italy and Europe on how to govern migration often revolves around national policies and politics. The irregular arrival of migrants on European shores has focused public attention on how to manage migratory flows at the macro level, something that falls inevitably under the responsibility of the central government of each member state, or of the EU as a whole.
Since 16 September, the drop in sea arrivals to Italy has entered its fifteenth month. Last August, less than 1,500 migrants have entered Italy irregularly by sea: the lowest number in a Summer month since 2012, the year before the “migration crisis” starterd. And while in September political instability in Libya spiked, departures from the country have remained low.
Almost seven years have now passed since the fall of Gaddafi’s regime, which has given rise to a situation of “organised chaos” in Libya. Leaders change, alliances change, but state institutions remain weak, confined to a small part of the region and sometimes divided between the Eastern and Western parts of the country, while sub-national affiliations continue to prevail over and prevent the rebuilding of a new legitimacy and national identity.