The new Spanish Foreign Minister, Socialist Josep Borrell, who took office on June 7 after the dissolution of the government of Mariano Rajoy, tells in an interview with Mond and other European publications (The Financial Times, The Guardian, Stampa, Süddeutsche Zeitung “) about the imminent admission to Valencia of 629 migrants who were trapped aboard the Aquarius after the Italian government refused to let them land on the territory of the country.
Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini called Spain’s decision a “victory”. What will you say to those who think that Spain’s readiness to accept Aquarius only strengthens the position of the most radical opponents of immigration in Italy?
Of course, this is a victory. The victory of those who were on the ship, because I do not know what they would do if Spain did not take such a decision. I will not criticize the Italian authorities. Immigration is not Italy’s problem, as it was not yesterday the problem of Greece and can not become tomorrow a problem for Spain. Since Europe has a common external border, it can not leave Italy alone and look somewhere else. Salvini was elected in Italy on the basis of an immigration program. At the same time, it is hardly possible to call it a surprise.
This is an attempt to compel the European Union to reflect on the essence of the migration problem and take action. So far, Europe only hides its head in the sand. This is a common problem. If we can not treat external borders as common borders, the Schengen zone will collapse. The EU needs a common policy both for refugees and those who create migration flows, because they want a better life.
No call is required here. I recently visited Senegal. The situation is of a structural nature and concerns differences in terms of demography and wealth. In the short term, the development of Africa will increase the number of potential migrants from those segments of the population who have the means and capabilities necessary for this. It is necessary to stimulate development, but at the same time be prepared for the fact that it will only facilitate immigration at first, while the opportunities created in these countries will not be enough to deter people.
Spain sets an example for other countries, including France.
Spain took this symbolic political decision to see Europe facing the problems facing it. We are not going to build ourselves Don Quixote.
Is this the first step towards accepting more migrants?
Spain is still very far from fulfilling our accepted quotas for the reception of migrants, therefore we still have room for maneuver to act within the framework of the EU decisions. The correctness of these quotas, of course, can be discussed. Probably, this is not enough, and such a decision entailed strong tension in the EU.
Nearly 500 people arrive every week to the southern border of Spain, and since the beginning of the year they have already accumulated 8 thousand. Humanitarian organizations talked about the lack of infrastructure in the country.
For the past several months I have been working on migration issues at the European Foundation for Progressive Studies, the expert group of the Party of European Socialists. In 2008, when I was chairman of the European Parliament’s commission for development assistance, I visited detention centers, which were more like detention centers. I was able to make sure that there are for the most unacceptable conditions. That is, there are definitely problems on our border.
After the change of government in Italy, Spain strengthens its position as a reliable partner of Europe.
We need to play a more active role. Circumstances allow this, because the political balance has changed. The UK is leaving. In Italy more and more Eurosceptic parties appeared. In France, everything is also not at all rosy, given the voices of Melanchone and Le Pen supporters. Everyone knows the trends in Eastern Europe. Spain can simply play its modest role in promoting European integration, as we are convinced that European construction is the guarantee of the future for us.
I prefer to form my own positions. Whatever it was, the French president laid out on the table a number of proposals, which I support privately. However, I am only the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I was also pleasantly surprised by the recent statements by the German finance minister, who speaks about strengthening the stability of the euro through joint instruments, including additional European unemployment benefits. It is necessary to stabilize the euro in order to prevent a new crisis. And do not repeat the old mistakes.
For example, the relationship to Greece, her diagnosis and prescribed treatment. The euro crisis was perceived as a fiscal crisis. In Greece, the deficit generated a crisis, but in Spain the crisis gave rise to a deficit. History will judge how the fiscal problem of a small country turned into an existential crisis of the whole unification.