More boat refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean

As the weather grows milder, the number of people fleeing across the Mediterranean to southern Europe to escape political instability and poverty in North Africa is increasing. On Tuesday, more than 2,000 people reached the Italian island of Lampedusa, but many others drowned during the crossing. Although this dynamic has been repeated for years, the EU still hasn't found a solution, European media complain.

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Cooperation instead of rejection

The political right in Europe has dominated the migration discourse for too long, Neue Zürcher Zeitung criticises:

“The bold demand for a 'sea blockade' against Africa - against people smugglers, sea rescuers and migrants - fits in well with their nationalist mindset. ... But in fact it only calls for what has long been practised as the official policy of Italy and the European Union. ... [The EU] must persuade African countries to take back their citizens when they are expelled by European countries. They still often don't do this. The prerequisite is probably a comprehensive migration policy that allows proper immigration from Africa and avoids irregular migration to Europe.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Weak African states exacerbate the problems

The radicalisation of Islamic youths in Africa is accelerating, warns historian Andrea Riccardi in Corriere della Sera:

“In some African regions, jihad is an alternative, in addition to emigration, for young people in search of dignity in a world without work - albeit still for a minority of them so far. It is not just a military but also a generational problem which the states have failed to counter by strengthening education, the labour market and welfare policies. ... The crisis of the African states is intensifying the search for new approaches to a global understanding: radical Islam offers a simplified and attractive answer.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Stop the vicious circle

For years the EU has been caught in the same deadly dynamic, Der Standard criticises:

“Each spring, waves of refugees leave North Africa for Southern Europe. The EU Mediterranean states demand that the new arrivals be redistributed throughout the Union. This proposal is then indignantly rejected by the other member states. The EU Commission is trying to find a pan-European solution, but is being thwarted by several countries such as the Visegrád states and Austria. ... In normal times, right-wing parties would exploit the issue to win elections. ... In times of the pandemic, however, all this is only mentioned in passing. Just like the thousands of victims this vicious circle claims every year.”