Yahoo! News, June 24, 2015
Europe needs to find a solution to the migrant crisis or risk losing its identity, Italy’s Matteo Renzi warned Wednesday ahead of a key EU summit, as tensions rose over the asylum issue.
“Europe needs a strategy,” the prime minister said in an interview in La Stampa daily, a day after France clashed with Britain over thousands of immigrants trying to cross the Channel, and Hungary suspended a key EU rule on processing asylum claims.
“A European response is needed above all by Europe, more than Italy,” he said.
“We want to fight for a different idea of values, civilisation, peace: that is what Europe was born for. If these values are ignored in front of a Mediterranean in flames, in front of children drowning, Europe loses itself,” he said.
On Tuesday, some of the thousands of illegal immigrants camped in the French port of Calais took advantage of the chaos caused by a ferry workers’ protest to try to climb aboard lorries bound for Britain.
France has said it is being forced to act like a British border patrol and called on London to do more to help.
Defying Italy’s own anti-immigration Northern League party, he said Italy could tackle the situation in the Mediterranean alone if necessary, insisting “we will not give up on saving one single life: a life is worth more than a poll”.
But he warned Europe against allowing “walls of indifference” to spring up.
“For us, in Italy, Europe is this: a lighthouse of civilisation, not a wall of fear.”