European Immigration Concerns: Macron to von der Leyen

From Macron to von der Leyen: Lampedusa and immigration at the heart of European concerns…

The small Italian island of Lampedusa has found itself at the center of European concerns in recent days. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, is due to go there this Sunday, September 17, when the influx of migrants has reached worrying proportions.

The small Italian island of Lampedusa has found itself at the center of European concerns in recent days. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, is due to go there this Sunday, September 17, when the influx of migrants has reached worrying proportions.

On this island located less than 150 km from the Tunisian coast, between Monday and Wednesday, around 8,500 people, more than the entire population of Lampedusa, arrived on board 199 boats, according to figures from the Tunisian tourism agency. United Nations for Migration. Organizations on site are overwhelmed, with a migrant reception center planned for fewer than 400 people. And while hundreds of migrants were evacuated from the island on Saturday morning, others arrived by sea. According to the Italian Red Cross, there were still 2,500 migrants in the overloaded reception center.

Meloni’s failure
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Friday evening judged the migratory pressure suffered by her country to be “unbearable”, and asked that the migration issue be put on the agenda of the EU summit in October. The far-right leader is becoming all the more urgent as she is faced with a major political failure with this crisis.

During the 2022 legislative election campaign, Meloni promised to “stop the landings” of migrants. At the end of August 2022, the leader of the far-right group Fratelli d’Italia spoke of her intention to establish a “naval blockade” in order to block the influx of migrants, particularly from Libya. But this proposal, too expensive and unrealistic, was quickly abandoned.


Today, the Prime Minister is ringing the alarm. She warned: “tens of millions of people” in Africa could want to leave their countries due to coups or famine, deeming it “obvious that Italy and Europe cannot accommodate this mass huge” number of migrants, she asserted.

Diplomatic ballet
This migration crisis has therefore been the subject of intense diplomatic activity for 48 hours. A conference call on Saturday brought together the French, Italian and German interior ministers, a representative of the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union and EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson.

The conference was proposed by French Minister Gérald Darmanin, who had already met on Friday morning with his Italian counterparts, Matteo Piantedosi, and German counterparts, Nancy Faeser.

These exchanges aim to avoid brutal disagreements between the countries most exposed to waves of migration. Berlin has in fact just suspended the voluntary reception of asylum seekers from this country due to “strong migratory pressure” and Rome’s refusal to apply certain European agreements.

economic and social problems that we face.”

But surprise… his retirement from public life would not last that long, even if at 52, he felt he had “turned around the garden after 10 years in politics”, we read in La Presse at the time.

In February 2011, François Legault launched with businessman Charles Sirois a think tank bringing together tired sovereignists and federalists, who were seeking at the time to overcome this divide, to find a third nationalist way in the face of the impasse of the national question.

From this think tank, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) became a party in November 2011 and swallowed up the Democratic Action of Quebec (ADQ), with the ambition of forming the next government and supplanting its former party, the PQ, as carrier. standard of the historical movement of Quebec nationalism. History will decide otherwise and it will be postponed… until 2018.

Celebrating 25 years of career?

Did François Legault intend to mark his 25 years of political career this year?

Not really.

Last January, at the pre-sessional caucus of his party’s elected officials, in a hotel in Laval, he suggested that there was nothing planned and that he did not seem to be interested in what was being highlighted. this quarter of a century in politics – while he always recalls his past as a businessman which dates back more than 25 years ago.

“I don’t like this stuff,” said the CAQ leader.

However, he is now the dean of the National Assembly, he who has tried to make a career since the founding of the CAQ by presenting a new way of doing politics, against what he describes as “old parties”, the PQ and the PLQ.

He stressed that he is still younger than the former dean of the National Assembly, François Gendron. And smiling, he referred to the President of the United States.

“I’m quite a bit younger than Mr. Biden, other than that!”

French solidarity
However, Germany also seems ready to extend a helping hand to Rome, under condition: the relocations planned by the “voluntary European solidarity mechanism” can be reimplemented “at any time if Italy fulfills its obligation to take back the refugees.” in accordance with EU rules.

For his part, Emmanuel Macron defended a “duty of European solidarity” with Italy. He must meet with Giorgia Meloni, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said without further details on the BFMTV channel. The latter, in tune with the Head of State, estimated that the time was “first of all for solidarity with Italy” and “the mobilization” of the European Union.

This exercise of solidarity with the President of the Italian Council was not self-evident, as relations between Rome and Paris are complicated with the transalpine far-right. Last year, an old video of Giorgia Meloni, unearthed by her party, showed her denouncing French colonialism in Africa, continued according to her by Emmanuel Macron, and which would fuel the migratory waves

The far right plows its land
The President of the European Commission will therefore have to move forward with caution on this undermined subject, which sharply divides the political scenes of the Member States. With the strong support of Giorgia Meloni, Ursula von der Leyen signed an agreement with Tunisia in July to try to reduce the flow of migrants arriving from the Tunisian coast, in exchange for financial aid to this North African country faced with serious economic difficulties. However, the League, the anti-immigration party of Matteo Salvini, member of the coalition in power in Italy, had taken issue with this agreement.

In France, the far right has also not failed to take up this subject, while its firmness displayed against immigration constitutes its trademark. “Emmanuel Macron must solemnly make this commitment: France will not welcome a single migrant from the concerted Lampedusa operation,” launched the president of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella.

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