Rome - The carnage of migrants found dead on a truck in Austria is only the last of a long series of tragedies. This time the route chosen by immigrants was not the customary one across the Mediterranean and this has changed how European member countries - including the most reluctant or unwilling to do their part - perceive the phenomenon, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni explained in an interview to the daily La Repubblica on Saturday. Mr Gentiloni said: "Precisely when the tragedy was discovered.
I was in Vienna for a summit between the EU and the Balkan countries. It was enough to look at my colleagues in the face to understand it: we are all involved. Up to only a shrort time ago, it was considered to be only an Italian and Greek emergency. During the last few weeks, people have become aware that the problem involves all of Europe." Mr Gentiloni believes that this spreading awareness has been an eye-opener also for European hawks. He said: "The perception has changed significantly during the last two months. Also the countries that had initially objected to the principle of distributing refugees, like Austria and Slovenia, are changing their stance." Journalist Giampiero Cadalunu reminded the minister that some governments, like those of Poland and Hungary, are still deaf to the humanitarian crisis.
Mr Gentiloni agreed although he said he wished "they will soon change their position, that they might not need for the emergency to lie at their door before realising what is obvious to everybody else." Mr Gentiloni believes that it is necessary to follow the proposal made by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to German Chancelor Angela Merkel. Mr Renzi said: "European democracy, civilisation and economy cannot be held hostage by right-wing minorities or by the idea that by riding the wave of fear they might cash in dividends at election time.
There are three very simple steps that Europe must follow: 1) become aware of the permanent nature - for at least 10-15 years - of migratory flows, which need to be regulated but can even be necessary from certain points of view; 2) work on the causes: a summit between Europe and Africa will be held in Malta in November to put on the table investments and projects to implement in the transit countries and in countries in crisis; 3) change attitude on reception rules and policies." "We need to amend rules drafted 25 years ago (Editor's note: the Dublin Treaty), and gradually introduce a revolutionary concept: that migrants no longer enter Italy, Greece or Hungary, or wherever geography or fate might bring them, but Europe," Mr Gentiloni explained. He added: "This will entail envisaging a European asylum right to be upheld in any European country. It is up to the European Union to define which countries are safe and differentiate them from those countries whose population must be guaranteed international asylum." (AGI)