The images of the numerous migrant boats arriving on the Italian island of Lampedusa shocked European public opinion. These images symbolized the theory of mass encroachment that has long been predicted by certain political forces. These forces have gained popularity by promoting the theory of a great replacement, suggesting that Africans will migrate to and settle in European territories.
The developments have prompted urgent action from Europe, as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen rushed to the island of Lampedusa with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. This move was intended to express European solidarity with the Italian authorities’ crisis.
There are three lessons that can be drawn from this crisis. The first lesson is to recognize the importance of the economic, security, and political agreement recently signed by the EU countries with Tunisia. This agreement aims to combat human trafficking networks that facilitate the transportation of immigrants to the northern Mediterranean coast. This signifies a clear failure of these European approaches, as they depend on external parties to safeguard their borders and points of entry for migrants.
The second lesson is that this crisis is a valuable opportunity for the radical European parties, which are gearing up for a crucial electoral battle during the European elections scheduled for next June. The far-right forces will seize these opportunities to criticize the government and highlight its inability to protect the European borders against these large-scale waves of migration, as they argue that these migrations pose a threat to the economic and social security of their citizens.
The third lesson lies in the significant political challenge that this crisis poses to the mechanisms of European solidarity in absorbing its repercussions. European law states that Italy, as the country of entry, is responsible for processing asylum applications and ensuring a fair distribution of new arrivals. Some European countries, especially those in the eastern region, reject this principle and refuse to accept their share of new refugees. This puts the principle of European solidarity at stake and threatens to erupt into a crisis that could undermine the structure of the European Union.