Estonia in favor of quick deportation of economic refugees ({{commentsTotal}})

Refugees in the Mediterranean.
Refugees in the Mediterranean. Source: (LaPresse/Carmelo Imbesi/Scanpix)

Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE) commented on the situation on Tuesday, saying that the vast majority of people illegally entering the European Union through Italy at the moment were economic migrants and needed neither protection nor asylum.

The European Commission presented a program on Tuesday to support Italy in dealing with the increasing inflow of migrants from the Mediterranean. The Commission’s proposals will be discussed in Tallinn starting Thursday.

Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE) commented on the situation on Tuesday, saying that the vast majority of people illegally entering the European Union through Italy at the moment were economic migrants and needed neither protection nor asylum.

Anvelt told ERR’s Uudis+ radio newscast that most of the people arriving didn’t fit in any program offering international protection. “We’re dealing with economic migrants. Looking at their countries of origin, they’re from the Gambia, Nigeria, Bangladesh,” Anvelt said.

The minister confirmed that as one solution to the migration crisis, Estonia was in favor of deporting economic refugees as quickly as possible. To that end, people who couldn’t successfully apply for protection or asylum should be identified immediately upon their arrival, already at the ports.

“People get sent back. That’s the quickest preventive measure,” Anvelt said.

Anvelt also pointed out that the pressure on Italy had increased by a fifth over just the last few weeks, and that last week alone some 12,000 refugees had arrived there.

Measures "cosmetic" unless Libya gets working coast guard

Political measures to support Italy would remain cosmetic if Libya couldn’t take care of its border and coast guard, Anvelt said. “Here the EU and also Estonia are doing a lot. Tens of millions of euros of project money have been allocated to rebuild the Libyan coast guard, increase the ability to perform sea rescue operations, and this crisis will only end once it can’t get beyond the Libyan coast any longer,” he added.

In addition to the €1 million allocated for Libya and to be paid into the European Union’s Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), Estonia had already earlier given €450,000 to the same end.

“This one million is of course just a drop in the great financial sea the Mediterranean crisis requires, but for Estonia this drop is a whole lake considering our budget,” Anvelt said. At the same time, it was important that the presiding country made a contribution like this, he added.

The interior ministers of the EU are meeting in Tallinn on Thursday and Friday this week. They will discuss the Mediterranean area and the migration crisis as well.

Editor: Dario Cavegn



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