Migrant influx in EU ‘almost impossible to manage’

© Johan Nilsson
Intervention in Libya and the removing of Gaddafi was the most ill- conceived step taken by the EU, said Prof. Kees van der Pijl from Sussex University. Now Europe is in an almost impossible situation trying to cope with the refugee crisis, he added.

The UN refugee agency said around 700 migrants may have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in the last few days. Several incidents have taken place near the southern coast of Italy, as migrants tried to cross to Europe.

This comes despite a massive effort by the international community to fight people smuggling. Italian authorities say rescuers have managed to save the lives of at least 13,000 migrants at sea this week, giving an insight into the astonishing numbers continuously trying to get across.

RT: The shocking numbers of those drowning in the Mediterranean still aren't decreasing, despite the huge efforts by the EU to stop these boats. Why is that?

Kees van der Pijl: Because there are wars raging across the Middle East and in Africa. And there is of course a massive inequality which is growing. Very often people forget that at the beginning of the XIX century the richest country was 26 times as rich as the poorest. Today that is 266 times as rich as the poorest. So the people who live in Africa, where the population is exploding, have basically no future there. And the most dynamic elements will begin to push to the north. Yes, Europe is the obvious receptacle for this overflow of population, for people who are fleeing all kinds of miseries, whether it’s war, ecological degradation and extreme poverty. 

RT: EU countries and organizations are pouring millions of euro into tackling the smugglers, and yet the regular grim pictures of death remain unchanged. Where is Brussels going wrong?

KvdP: It always depends in these matters on how far you want to go back. But I think, as far as North Africa is concerned, in practical terms, removing [Muammar] Gaddafi in Libya was the most ill-conceived step that you could take in light of the flow of migrants from Africa. Whatever Brussels, NATO, and British flagships, etc. may do – the first thing they should not have done was to intervene in Libya... At some point the objective situation as it is becomes almost impossible to manage. And I think we are in that situation. There is a massive surplus of population in areas where it’s no longer possible to live a decent life.

Laszlo Maracz, University of Amsterdam said “we, as outside observers, cannot check where the money is going,” particularly given the “enormous deficit and financial crisis” that Greece is experiencing.

“It is easily imaginable that money flows that are coming into Greece for the migrant issue [is] being used for other things or, simply, the infrastructure of the state cannot absorb this money, and the money is dripping in all sort of directions and is flowing away,” he said.

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