Ally of Merkel re­news refugee cap de­mand

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

BER­LIN, July 17, (Agen­cies): Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s Bavar­ian ally has re­newed calls for a cap on the num­ber of refugees Ger­many ac­cepts, but has avoided mak­ing it a con­di­tion for join­ing her in gov­ern­ment again af­ter this fall’s elec­tion.

The con­ser­va­tive bloc of Merkel’s Chris­tian Democrats and Bavar­ian gover­nor Chris­tian So­cial Union en­joys a dou­ble-digit poll lead be­fore Ger­many’s Septem­ber elec­tion.

See­hofer’s de­mand for an an­nual cap of 200,000 on refugees was a ma­jor ir­ri­tant last year, when he said his party wouldn’t join an­other gov­ern­ment without one. Merkel in­sisted Sun­day she won’t ac­cept it.

See­hofer said Mon­day the cap “re­mains a CSU aim” but avoided mak­ing it a con­di­tion. News agency dpa re­ported he said: “First, we want to win the elec­tion.”


Italy de­lays cit­i­zen­ship rights bill:

Italy’s gov­ern­ment has de­layed a par­lia­men­tary vote on a cit­i­zen­ship rights bill as ten­sions rise over the num­ber of mi­grants ar­riv­ing on the coun­try’s shores.

The pro­posal to give chil­dren born on Ital­ian soil to for­eign par­ents cit­i­zen­ship rights at birth or af­ter at least five years of Ital­ian school­ing en­joys the sup­port of Prime Min­is­ter Paolo Gen­tiloni’s cen­tre-left Demo­cratic Party (PD).

But Gen­tiloni said late Sun­day that the bill would be dropped un­til later in the year con­sid­er­ing other “ur­gent dead­lines” and “dif­fi­cul­ties that have arisen on cer­tain fringes of the ma­jor­ity”.

He gave his “per­sonal com­mit­ment” to en­sure the bill was ap­proved in the au­tumn.

For­eign Min­is­ter An­gelino Al­fano, who leads a small cen­trist party in the rul­ing coali­tion, had said that while the bill had his sup­port in prin­ci­ple, he could not guar­an­tee the nec­es­sary votes in favour con­sid­er­ing the cur­rent cli­mate.

A poll last week showed the bill is los­ing sup­port among Ital­ians, even though such a path to cit­i­zen­ship ex­ists in many other EU coun­tries, and de­spite sup­port­ers in­sist­ing the draft law has noth­ing to do with newl­yarrived mi­grants.

Over 86,000 mi­grants have ar­rived so far this year, up over 10 per­cent com­pared with the same pe­riod in 2016.

The left-lean­ing La Repub­blica daily called on the po­lit­i­cal class to “be straight with Ital­ians and dis­man­tle lies”.

“This law has noth­ing to do with those who are dis­em­bark­ing on our coasts,” it said.

Un­der the pro­posed bill, one of the par­ents would have to have been legally present in Italy for five years for chil­dren born here to be granted cit­i­zen­ship, so it would not ap­ply to those re­fused asy­lum and or­dered to leave the coun­try.

Mat­teo Salvini, head of the anti-im­mi­gra­tion North­ern League party, de­scribed Gen­tiloni’s de­ci­sion as “a vic­tory” for his party, say­ing: “If they try again, they’ll find us ready. Stop in­va­sion”.

Some 45 may­ors in Si­cily have de­manded a meet­ing with the gov­ern­ment this week af­ter a heated protests over the dis­tri­bu­tion of newly-ar­rived mi­grants on the south­ern Ital­ian is­land.

Bel­gium should with­draw frigate:

Bel­gium should with­draw its frigate from an EU mis­sion to break up hu­man traf­fick­ing net­works near Libya be­cause the pres­ence of such ves­sels en­cour­aged mi­grants to make the per­ilous jour­ney across the cen­tral Mediter­ranean, the mi­gra­tion min­is­ter said.

Bel­gium has sent a frigate to take part in an EU oper­a­tion to map and dis­rupt net­works of peo­ple smug­glers off the Libyan coast who send mi­grants to­wards Italy, of­ten on ram­shackle dinghies which are barely sea­wor­thy.

While sav­ing the mi­grants is not the core task of the mil­i­tary ves­sels that are part of the mis­sion, they of­ten have to do so.

“I per­son­ally think this oper­a­tion should not be re­peated be­cause it is pure lunacy. There is no logic to it,” mi­gra­tion min­is­ter Theo Francken told broad­caster VTM.

“It is not about whether we should save them or not. We should. But this cre­ates an ef­fect of draw­ing in mi­grants with more dead peo­ple as a re­sult. It is a shame on Europe,” Francken, who has a record of crit­i­cis­ing NGOs over their be­hav­iour in the Mediter­ranean, added.

A spokes­woman for the Bel­gian de­fence min­istry said the coun­try would con­tinue to be part of the mis­sion only if the Libyan gov­ern­ment al­lowed EU ves­sels in­side its wa­ters, as fore­seen in phase two of the EU oper­a­tion.

In the first six months of 2017, some 85,000 peo­ple ar­rived on Italy’s south­ern shores, a fifth more than in the same pe­riod last year, EU bor­der agency Fron­tex said ear­lier this month.

Na­tion­als of Nige­ria, Bangladesh and Ivory Coast, which have a low like­ly­hood of be­ing recog­nised as asy­lum seek­ers in Europe, rep­re­sented the high­est num­ber of ar­rivals, Fron­tex added.

EU curbs rub­ber dinghy sales:

The Euro­pean Union on Mon­day adopted lim­its on the ex­port of in­flat­able boats to Libya in a bid to make it harder for smug­glers to send mi­grants to Europe.

The de­ci­sion by the for­eign min­is­ters of the 28 EU states, which also cov­ers out­board mo­tors, is the lat­est to help a chaotic and vi­o­lence-torn Libya stem the flow of mi­grants to Italy, now the main route to the bloc.

“We took a de­ci­sion to in­tro­duce re­stric­tions from to­day on­wards on the ex­port and sup­ply to Libya of the in­flat­able boats and mo­tors,” EU for­eign pol­icy chief Fed­er­ica Mogherini said.

“These are de­vices are used by traf­fick­ers for smug­gling ac­tiv­i­ties. This de­ci­sion we have taken on the Euro­pean Union level will help make their busi­nesses and lives even more com­pli­cated,” the for­mer Ital­ian for­eign min­is­ter told re­porters.

An EU state­ment said there will now be a le­gal ba­sis to block the sup­ply of dinghies and out­board mo­tors to Libya if there are “rea­son­able grounds” to sus­pect they will be used by peo­ple smug­glers and hu­man traf­fick­ers.

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