European countries have accepted up to 10% of the total 160,000 refugees that were estimated to be moved from unhygienic and overcrowded camps in Italy and Greece, being Malta and Finland the only ones meeting refugee relocation obligations.
This means that countries have only accomplished 8% of pledged refugee resettlements. More precisely, 13,546 relocations have been carried out so far, 3,936 coming from Italy and 9,610 from Greece. The European Commission warns that it will admit “no more excuses”.
While countries such as Hungary, Austria and Poland refused to participate in the European resettlement plan, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovakia and many other are carrying it out on a “very limited basis”.
Meanwhile, the European Commission insisted that the treaty between the European Union and Turkey is working fine a year after its ratification. Crossings from Turkey to Greece have decreased from 10,000 people in a single day to 43 per day currently, with overall entrances going down by 98%.
The bodies of 74 migrants were found in a beach near Zawiya, a town in western Libya last Monday. Rescuers affirmed that bodies came from an inflatable boat which sank when they were trying to reach Italy.
The raft is believed to have left Libya last Saturday and has been wandering without an engine for some days until it has submerged. From the 74 bodies, three are women. However, it seems that death toll will rise regarding the capacity boat could hold.
Activists assume that the tragedy is anticipating what may happen in the following months, with the start of the main migration season in Libya, which starts in April and lasts until October.
Libya is the one of the most important starting points for African migrants who try to reach Europe and escape war and poverty. Indeed, the so-called Mediterranean route left at least 4,579 people died last year.
After the referendum celebrated last Sunday with the aim of changing the Italian constitution Matteo Renzi is resigning as prime minister. The defeat of the “no” vote has been marked by a victory for anti-establishment and rightwing parties and has thrown the third largest economy of the European Union into a sharp political uncertainty.
The defeat was not unexpected but it was nevertheless more significant than estimated, with 59.1% of Italians voting against the proposed reforms, which would have made extensive changes to Italy’s constitution and parliamentary system.
The 20-point margin has signified a major victory for the populist Five Star Movement, which led the Italian opposition to the reform, and the Northern League. These parties are not precisely traditional allies but joined to oppose Renzi with the aim of driving him out of office.
The victory for “no” could have serious consequences for Italy and could disconcert European and global markets due to worries about the country’s economic future and support of populist and Eurosceptic parties.
The new government’s immediate task will be to pass a change in the electoral law that will make it more laborious for either the Five Star Movement or the Northern League to win strong majorities in the parliament in the following elections.