Italy’s parliament will start debate today on plans to send warships to Libya to combat people-smugglers. Nearly 100,000 migrants have
Italy’s parliament will start debate today on plans to send warships to Libya to combat people-smugglers. Nearly 100,000 migrants have landed in Italy this year with no end in sight.
Announced by Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni last week, the proposal’s details, such as the rules of engagement, will be hashed out in parliament. The plan follows a more radical proposal to extend emergency visas to migrants, allowing them to travel to other EU countries—more a threat to a non-responsive Europe than a credible policy.
Gentiloni’s European headaches intensified after Emmanuel Macron hosted competing Libyan factional leaders Paris, resulting in a ceasefire agreement. He also announced planned “hotspots” to pre-check asylum seekers. Rome was furious at not being consulted. Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano dismissed the French initiative’s influence and emphasised his support for UN-led talks.
With elections in Italy due by spring 2018, Gentiloni’s centre-left Democratic Party needs a migration breakthrough. Rising xenophobia benefits the already-resurgent right, and Alfano—leader of a small centre-right group—has ditched his coalition partner to back Silvio Berlusconi. If the ships fail, the octogenarian playboy could be ferried to a fourth stint in power.