The Italian government and officials have warned that the Mediterranean migrant crisis will reach a boiling point as IS militants smuggle themselves into europe among the migrants. Since italy are absorbing the majority of migrants this is posing a large security threat to them, and now that Europe as a whole is opening up to migrant absorption, the whole of the EU will act as a gateway to IS infiltration.
Libya has no effective controls in place by its largely broken central government to provide security around its borders. Al Sham and Islamic State militants have easier access to travel to Europe across the Mediterranean than ever before. With the huge increase in smugglers boats heading out towards Europe, IS militants are doing deals to smuggle their operatives on board. Abdul Basit Haroun, a Libyan government official admitted that the smugglers were doing monetary deals with ISIS militants to get them aboard the vessels, and into Europe with Italy the main port of target. He also admitted there was nothing they could do. This is largely due to the poor security in Libya ever since the fallout and removal of Colonel Gaddafi.
The smuggling of people who hope for a better life in Europe is a major security issue for Libya, as they are the major port favoured by the people smugglers for the illegal immigration activities. Libya as no controls or security checks at any of its borders, and this is unlikely to change without a stable government, and intervention by European countries to help put a stable security system in place. There are huge amounts of money to be made through the corruption that faces Libya, with millia groups who are loyal to either the Tripoli and Tobruk government earning huge sums of money to assist the people smugglers and allow them safe passage through the Libyan territory.
While Libya struggles to cope with the illegal people smuggling, the opposition to the EU migrant plan that is proposed by the European Commision, prevents the European countries from taking combined action to put an end to the migrant crisis. Since the EU bloc is already split over the migrant plan to act cohesively over ending the migrant Mediterranean crisis, all of the countries in Europe and especially Italy are having to leave themselves open to militant attacks, and IS radicalisation.
The Italian Navy has assisted in the vast majority of migrant rescues with the total number of migrants estimated to reach 100,000 for 2015 alone. Paolo Gentiloni the Italian Foreign Minister has demanded that the promises made at the recent EU summit must be honoured. Tension regarding the migrant situation is starting to reach boiling point among the Italian regions with politicians in Northern Italy vowing they wouldn’t take in any more migrants. Even the Milan based governor of Lombardy has echoed this statement.
France has already opposed the European Commission’s migration plan, and called for an effective system of border controls to be put in place, and a consistent way to fairly distribute the asylum seekers among EU bloc countries. French President Manuel Valls has already said he is against a quota implementation, and has proposed a fair distribution system. Adding that the right to seek asylum in a country should be granted in line with international standards.
In response to the EU’s migrant proposals, the UK have rejected the measures heavily stating they would prefer to deploy gunships to tackle trafficking gangs, and take a more proactive sea based approach, while deploying their Royal Navy assets to help patrol the Mediterranean alongside the Italian Navy. The UK has refused to open up its borders to accommodate migrants stating that it would encourage more illegal immigration. Britain has insisted that the proposed asylum seeking distribution among the EU countries should be done purely on voluntary basis. The UK security agencies see the prospect of letting in radicalised IS militants by accident, and are keen for other EU countries to take more of the risk.
Other EU member states have also opposed the migrant quota scheme, such as Slovakia, Hungary and Estonia. Many have taken the same opinion as the UK that it only increases the desire of more economical and political migrants to escape the shackles of their own countries and find a better life somewhere in Europe. Germany has already accepted a large amount of the migrants seeking asylum, and is proposing the scheme to spread them fairly amongst the EU member states. The EU bloc is positive that that they can crack down on the criminal networks and gangs operating from Libya, however a viable mission of targeting and intercepting used by the smugglers seems unlikely.