I remember when the EU was the EEC and before that just “The Common Market.’ In those days of my youth it was supposed to be just that, a market for trade. Since then it has become a vast legislature, controlling what we buy, sell, eat, drink, and increasingly how we act and think.
The Church of England Bishops see it as a grand talking shop, a place where ‘jaw jaw’ will always replace the threat of ‘war war.’ But it become frighteningly clear that one thing the EU does not want to do is act in defence of itself, Europe, its culture and security against outsiders who threaten its existence. The UN has recently condemned its lack of action over immigration from Africa into Italy.
The UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, has said for the first time this week, that the large-scale processing of migrants and refugees in countries such as Egypt, Libya or Sudan, may be necessary as frontline authorities claim they have been abandoned by Brussels in the face of a ‘colossal humanitarian catastrophe.’
Hundreds of thousands of people are now preparing to make treacherous crossings on unseaworthy vessels from the North African coast to Greece and Italy as this summer’s ‘boat season’ gets under way. Figures for the first few months of this year already show a dramatic increase on previous years. The EU border agency, Frontex, says a record number of migrants are likely to arrive on the continent this year.
Authorities on the Italian island of Lampedusa are struggling to cope with a huge influx of new arrivals from Libya. In Italy’s southern-most outpost and first landing point for many migrants rescued at sea, more than 1,200 people are crammed into a reception centre that can only hold a few hundred. The UN estimates that at least 2,600 others have been taken to other rescue centres since last Friday.
On Wednesday, February 18th, 2015, Paolo Gentiloni, Italy’s Foreign Minister called for an expansion of the EU’s Triton maritime border patrol, which is effectively a search-and-rescue mission as well.
‘We must significantly reinforce Triton to bring it into line with the reality of the scale of the problem,’ he told the Italian parliament, after calling for an international intervention to halt Libya’s descent into chaos.
In response to his call for help, the EU has done nothing. There has been no intervention and probably never will be. Instead Italy’s interior ministry announced that 4,800 soldiers would be deployed to protect sensitive sites. Increased security is expected at the Vatican, embassies and popular tourist spots as part of a ‘safe streets,’ operation.
‘The deterioration of the situation on the ground forces the international community to move more quickly,’ says Gentiloni, ‘ before it’s too late.’
But the EU is doing nothing about the situation in Libya, and Italy is having to look after itself, without help from its fellow union members. It may already be too late. Over the weekend, ISIS militants in Libya posted online a video message warning that the psychotic jihadi group was just south of Rome. The Italian capital has long been named a target by Isis due to the presence of the Vatican.
We are getting towards a situation similar to Europe in 1938, where Italy is in the position of Czechoslovakia and its European neighbours,the latter in desperate denial of the threat from a terrible enemy. That situation then landed us in exactly the place we didn’t want to be; at war. This time we will be fighting an enemy moving to live among us carrying knives, hammers and Islamic flags. It won’t just be a fight on the beaches and the landing crafts, but in our streets, supermarkets, buses, aeroplanes, churches, synagogues and sub-ways.