Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2012-05-09-Speech-3-118-000"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I was part of the European Parliament delegation that visited Sicily in November last year. The head of our delegation, Ms Wikström, wrote to the Italian Minister for the Interior, Ms Cancellieri, and has received a reply that is clear enough. I should like to put on record first of all that since our visit, there has been a change of government in Italy, and there has also been a change of approach to the situation. However, the situation itself in the countries from which the flow of migrants largely originates has also changed. This is why we must not shirk from the need for a close examination of what has happened or of the situation as it is now. The most important fact, still an issue, is Lampedusa’s status as an unsafe port with the closure of the Contrada Imbraciola emergency assistance and reception centre following the fire in September 2011 in which it was damaged. However, the damage was only partial: a dormitory was wrecked and one of the facility’s seven buildings was damaged, followed by the effective termination of the Presidium project. Now, apart from the consideration that the only unsafe port in the Mediterranean was Tripoli in the Gaddafi era – and this analogy does not seem flattering to me – and given that the migration flows have certainly not come to an end, even though they have notably lessened both in numbers and for seasonal reasons, it is important that there should be a functioning emergency assistance and reception facility, and that it should be located at Lampedusa, which is the first landing point for those arriving from the opposite shore after journeys that are certainly not easy or free from risk. This is something the shipwreck victims from Somalia who arrived in April this year know well, after seeing 10 people die on the barge on which they were travelling, or the 20 who were transferred from Linosa because there was no place for them in the other reception centres, or the 18 who are still in Linosa, living in the stadium’s changing-rooms. There is also the tourist residence of Cala Creta, where they are currently housed, which is certainly neither an identification and expulsion centre nor a reception centre for asylum seekers, and especially the fact that in the meantime, both the sanitary arrangements and the possibility of receiving asylum at Lampedusa have been removed. Everything has been entrusted to the goodwill and the kind-heartedness of the police or the citizens and volunteers of Lampedusa. Another thing that must be borne in mind is the role that the centre itself has assumed in the recent past. After having allowed thousands upon thousands of people to gather, against all legal and ethical standards, in a place which, in terms of capacity and function, was only intended to accommodate a few hundred passing through, after having allowed an area of a few square kilometres, already made problematic on account of its location and logistics, to be forced to accommodate a number of people far in excess of the local population itself, we must give thought to who is responsible for an extremely tense situation, which then resulted in the fire itself. I believe that a perusal and examination of the facts is enough to understand that it was precisely the removal from Lampedusa of the great number of people who had gathered there which led to all this. Today, the best relations will surely lead to a better state of affairs."@en1

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