Casa wants border fences to stop migrants from East, calls for support to Italy

Nationalist MEP David Casa joins Manfred Weber in support for Giorgia Meloni demand for NGO code of conduct for rescue or migrants

David Casa
David Casa

Nationalist MEP David Casa is one of the leading voices calling for EU money to finance fences at the border of Europe’s eastern flank to prevent more migrants from entering the mainland.

On Sunday he joined European People’s Party leader Manfred Weber in a Times of Malta opinion in criticising Brussels for refusing to finance border fences, claiming the walls were needed to thwart alleged Turkish plans to “weaponise migrants to disrupt the EU.”

Taking a leaf out of the Italian playbook, Weber and Casa called for “more than solidarity” for Italy, which they argued has largely been left alone with over 100,000 migrants who arrived last year. They also supported far-right prime minister Giorgia Meloni’s call for a “code of conduct for NGOs performing search and rescue operations.”

Casa is a supporter of registration and reception centres outside European territory to dissuade people without a case for asylum from entering the EU illegally.

Some 330,000 irregular migrants arrived in Europe due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“These numbers are unacceptable and show that existing European migration policies have failed,” Casa wrote, adding that a Eurobarometer measured 70% of Europeans being ‘worried about the impact of migration on their lives’.

“First, we need strong protection of our external borders. We need a fully operational and strengthened border and coast guard (Frontex). The state, not the mafia, decides who comes to Europe and who does not. If we want to maintain free movement inside the EU, then people must know that the external borders are protected,” Casa and Weber said.

The two want fences on borders to prevent migrants being sent “to attack Europe as part of Russia’s hybrid war” and said the European Commission was wrong in refusing European funds for this.

Casa also said that at least half of the people who arrive in Europe do not manage to claim asylum and should be returned. “The European Commission has not made any progress on this in the last years. This is simply not good enough.”

He also said that with rescue NGOs patrolling the southern sea border in the Mediterranean, ythey have have an EU rulebook on what they can and cannot do. “It is not sustainable that we leave it to NGOs to patrol the southern sea border. Civil society involvement is welcome but we need a clear rulebook, defined by the EU. That is why we call for a code of conduct for NGOs performing search-and-rescue missions.”

Casa also slammed France for having taken just a single refugee boat with 234 people on board, highlighting the failure of relocation policies. “Italy saw over 100,000 migrants arrive across the Mediterranean last year alone. Germany and France promised Italy that they would take over 7,000 migrants as part of the voluntary solidarity mechanism. Have they delivered?  Not at all! Only 202 people from Italy were relocated to Germany and France under this mechanism. We need more than solidarity on paper from Paris and Berlin.”

No solidarity in the EU as only 207 relocated under pact

Only 207 asylum seekers have been transferred under a voluntary solidarity mechanism as part of the Solidarity Pact – all of them from Italy – in what reads as yet another failure on the EU’s attempts to get member states to share the responsibility of asylum.

The VSM, established in the summer of 2022 for relocating refugees from states such as Italy, Greece and Malta, was shown to have lacked the necessary element of solidarity itself, as stated in an internal European Commission paper.

The paper shows that the entire scheme could be in jeopardy due to a failure by other EU member states to actually accept people for relocation.

As of 1 December 2022, only 207 people had been transferred, all of them from Italy, with the Commission noting that across the “Med5” countries – Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain – there were “around 600 pre-acceptances but very few transfers, leading to a rather disappointing result for the end of 2022.”

The low level of relocations is in sharp contrast to the arrival of Ukrainian refugees, which have been welcomed across Europe. As usual, the regional affinity of a recognisable war in Europe accords such refugees priority over sub-Saharan migrants rescue in the Central Mediterranean by NGOs, which are being criminalised by EU states like Italy.