“In 2013 Italy became the number-two Schengen country for number of visas issued, with a total of 2,125,490. We cam in second only to France (2,471,220 visas issued) and, for the first time, surpassed Germany (slightly more than 2 million). Our 172 authorised missions issued an average of one visa every 15 seconds, which is double the number issued eight years ago in 2005”. The numbers were cited by Minister Federica Mogherini in a briefing before the parliamentary committee on implementation of the Schengen Accord.
12,000 lives saved, but EU needed
On the immigration front, the Minister reported that the Mare Nostrum operation had made it possible thus far, “to save 12,000 immigrants’ lives, but our forces alone are not enough. Much has been done to raise awareness in Europe of the need to take charge of the problem, but more are needed”. Mogherini underscored that “there is still much to be done and we are planning to do it during the Italian duty presidency” of the EU Council.
The Mediterranean is an EU theme
The “effective management of the immigration problem must include constant dialogue with third countries of origin and, especially, of transit, with a view to a broader based collaboration and sharing of responsibility. This is clear to Italy and is beginning to become clear to Europe as well”, the minister pointed out.
Migration from Libya requires special attention. According to Mogherini, “the Mediterranean region is an absolute priority for the entire European Union; our efforts must be to help our European partners understand that this is a community issue”. “In 2013”, the minister continued, “70% of migration phenomena took place along central Mediterranean routes, with departures from Libya and arrivals in Italy”.
Ukraine, concern over news from south and east
According to the minister, “the news from the south and east of Ukraine is especially worrying and serious”, adding that ongoing efforts in all international settings were aimed at avoiding the situation’s further deterioration, and on behalf of the dialogue between Kiev and Moscow” facilitated by the EU and the US.