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“Boat People” Worries Follow Crisis In North Africa …

  • February 12th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

migration-eu-boatpeople1.JPGConcerns have been raised about a fresh wave of boat people crossing to Europe from North Africa, as a product of changes of government in the region.

Italian authorities have reported a sharp increase in arrivals at the main intake centre, the island of Lampedusa – 650 on the night of 10-11.2.11.

They have asked the European Union for special assistance in dealing with the numbers.

Thousands of people in desperate straights, from countries in Africa and further afield, have been trying to get to Europe by travelling North then getting onto boats, especially in Libya and Tunisia.

EU negotiators have secured arrangements with their counterparts in those countries for controlling the movement of people – in the context of a wider policy of giving economic assistance to countries of origin, and developing orderly migration  linked to education and jobs.

See EU Australia Online
: “Expanded work on immigration in developing countries”, 25.10.11; “EU relieved as boat-people numbers ease …, 13.8.10; “Immigration: New sea strategy”, 1.4.10.

The Tunisian president Ben Ali fled the country on 14.1.11 in the face of public demonstrations against his government continuing in office, official corruption and failures in the economy.

That created prospects for democratic reform, but also a disrupted administration, less likely to follow up tasks like managing the trans-migration.

Pressure is being felt along Europe’s land borders as well, most recently in Greece where the government moved to erect a barrier-fence along the frontier with Turkey.

It received assistance from other EU states with its border patrol activity, that assistance being extended this week.

See EUAustralia Online, “EU’s Hungary Presidency … (EU immigration challenge), 9.1.11.


Deutsche Welle, Bonn, “Immigration: Italy warns of an immigration ’emergency’ due to North African unrest”, 11.2.11.,,14837362,00.html, (12.2.11).

AGI, Rome, “Immigrants: 650 reach Lampedusa during the night”,(11.2.11).