Brahim Aouissaoui, the terrorist behind the Nice attack, made his way to France after landing in Lampedusa. Another Tunisian, Marouan Elkroumi, was deported from Italy for clear links with terrorist cells after arriving in Lampedusa by boat. A few years ago, the Berlin attacker also came to Europe using boats carrying migrants.
According to the Italian Minister of Interior, this year 268 immigrants have been arrested or reported for reasons related to religious fanaticism.
It is quite obvious that unchecked immigration and an ‘open door’ policy are an invitation to those migrants with Europe in their sights for terrorist ends. At the most critical points, we saw up to 1 200 people crowded into Lampedusa’s reception centre. Clearly, as police unions have warned, it is difficult to check everyone in such circumstances.
On 11 November 2020, Italian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Silvia Sardone of the Identity and Democracy Group, posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission. MEP Sardone enquired “does it think it would help the fight against terrorism to close the gates and put a tight cap on immigrants arriving in Italy?” and “what does it make of the Italian Government’s action, which has in fact caused immigrant arrivals to swell considerably in recent months?”
Finally, MEP Sardone asked, “what does it intend to do to help Italy keep irregular migrants arriving along the Italian coast in check?”
On 18 December, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson responded on behalf of the European Commission and reported that “the implementation of counter-terrorism measures remains primarily a Member State competence” and “the Commission supports Member States in their efforts and has adopted a new Counter-Terrorism Agenda for the EU on 9 December 2020”.
The Commissioner stated that “the EU’s joint hotspot approach, applied to all ports of disembarkation in Italy, has ensured that arriving migrants are properly identified, registered and fingerprinted” and “this includes health and security checks against relevant databases”. She explained that “the Commission continues to provide financial and operational support to Italy, as well as coordinates voluntary relocation of migrants” and “insofar, the Commission has coordinated the transfer of 1 106 migrants from Italy to pledging Member States”.
Commissioner Johansson clarified that “in the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, the Commission proposes to introduce an integrated border procedure, which includes a pre-entry screening applicable to all third-country nationals present at the EU external border without fulfilling the entry conditions, or after disembarkation following a search and rescue operation”.
She also expressed that “the screening entails health and identity checks, registration of biometric data, as well as a security check to verify that the person does not constitute a threat to internal security”.
Finally, she declared that “the Commission has also announced a new 2021-2025 EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling, which will also strengthen cooperation with countries of origin and transit”.
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/protest-charlie-dam-lights-light-1273818/