Sweden rules out EU migration pact in snub to far-right Italys Meloni

Rishi Sunak announces plans to tackle illegal migration

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The Ambassador of Sweden’s permanent representation to the EU, Lars Danielsson, has slashed hopes of an EU migration pact in the next six months. Mr Danielsson told the Financial Times: “We will certainly move the work forward, but you will not see a complete migration pact during the Swedish presidency. There will be no before the spring of 2024″ before stressing ”I receive instructions from the government”.

The comments see Stockholm’s far-right government knocking down the hopes of another right-wing government, that of Giorgia Meloni in Italy, which in the first two months had proudly claimed among its achievements that of having brought the shared management of migratory flows to the top of the European political agenda.

The move will lengthen the times for an agreement on the issue of migrants especially because the sovereign countries are willing to assert their reasons, linked above all to secondary movements within the European Union and to the decidedly higher number of asylum applications in the countries of the central northern Europe, compared to the requests for help made decisively by coastal states starting from Italy.

Despite the apparent relaxed climate, the Meloni government’s trust in the EU remains low and this is demonstrated by the decision to go ahead with national measures such as the anti-NGO rules set forth in the immigration decree, including the one which provides that migrants rescued from humanitarian organisations ships must be informed of the possibility of seeking asylum on board, thus establishing competence in the State whose flag the vessel is flying.

An interpretation of international law, the one embraced by the Italian government (and today at its first test bench with the landing in Taranto of the MSF’s Geo Barents), which no one in Europe seems willing to accept so far.

Commenting on Mr Danielsson’s statement, Dr Daniele Albertazzi of the Centre for Britain and Europe, wrote: “Swedish ambassador to Brussels explains that his government is in no rush to sign an EU-wide agreement on sea crossings, which Giorgia Meloni hopes will lead to sharing arrivals between EU countries.

“In any case, it will not happen during the Swedish rotation Presidency of the EU.

“It is almost as if nativism and the desire not to upset one’s radical right electorate always trampled over ideas of solidarity between members of the so-called ‘populism international’.

“Who would have thought.”

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No difficulties are expected with regard to support for Ulf Kristersson’s centre-right executive by the far-right and Eurosceptic Swedish Democrats: “There are probably taboo topics for the Swedish Democrats – Mr Danielsson said -. But I receive instructions from the government” .

In Brussels “I don’t think people are very worried”, he added, asking to look at the results of the Swedish presidency in one or two months.

Charities that rescue migrants at sea complained last week that new measures adopted by Italy’s right-wing government will limit their rescue capacity, setting lives at risk.

“With the new rules imposed by the Italian government on NGO boats, we will be forced to leave rescue zones uncovered with the inevitable increase in the number of deaths,” Doctors Without Borders said in a tweet.

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The charity Emergency argued that more boats will be pushed back by the Libyan Coast Guard to Libya, where human rights groups say migrants face torture, sexual violence and extortion at the hands of guards in detention centres.

Under the Italian decree, charities not abiding by the rules risk fines of up to €50,000 and could have their vessels impounded for repeat offences.

So far this year, more than 103,000 migrants have arrived in Italy, up 55 percent over last year, according to the Interior Ministry. Most of those have arrived independently, and not with charity boats, officials have said. Nearly 1,400 people have died or are missing and presumed dead in the deadly central Mediterranean Sea crossing this year, according to the United Nations migration agency’s Missing Migrants Report.

Along with the new measures, Italian officials have been assigning ports further and further north, away from the migrant routes.

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