Austria, Italy and Germany discussing new ‘axis’ against refugees!


ANOTHER boat carrying refugees has sunk attempting the journey across the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Europe, 63 asylum seekers are missing.

A Libyan coastguard boat returned to Tripoli on Monday with another 235 migrants – including 54 infants and 29 women – rescued in two other operations in the same area. Meanwhile, a humanitarian boat carrying 59 asylum seekers was heading to Spain yesterday after Italy and Malta – both much closer to the place of rescue – refused to let it dock in their ports.

According to UN figures, more than 1,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean this year while making the perilous journey from Libya to Europe. Italy has said it will give ships and equipment to the Libyan coastguard to help it intercept and return migrants to Africa. Italy’s government also announced on Monday it will provide ten motor launches and two ships to the Libyan coastguard, in order to increase its capacity to intercept and bring back ‘illegal migrants’ from the Mediterranean Sea.

The new government in Rome wants the ‘illegal immigrants’ who seek to cross the Mediterranean and reach Europe, to be taken back to North Africa rather than let them enter, and to be put into camps in Niger and Chad.

Late on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel finally sealed a deal on migration policy with her Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, a desperate attempt to try to stop her government being brought down, by driving the EU further to the right and kicking refugees out. Austria, which is currently holding the rotating presidency of the EU, warned that it is prepared to take measures for the protection of its southern borderwith Slovenia and Italy if the agreement in Germany becomes government policy. So much for freedom of movement!

According to the Austrian government, if the deal reached between Chancellor Merkel and German Interior Minister Seehofer is endorsed by the government, ‘we will be obliged to take measures to avoid disadvantages for Austria and its people’ since ‘Germany wants to take national measures to tackle migration flows.’

The government’s statement referred to the deal concluded after tense negotiations between the the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) headed by Merkel and the Christian Social Union (CSU) headed by Seehofer. According to the Interior Minister, Germany must have an opportunity to reject migrants directly at the border, and the two conservative parties have agreed to tighten border controls.

In June, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz suggested that Austrian, German and Italian interior ministers form an ‘axis’ against illegal immigration, which provoked criticism from France, with President Macron even warning that such ‘catchphrases’ . . . ‘did not bring luck’ to Europe in the course of history, referring to the German-Italian axis of the 1940s.

The facts are that the imperialist assaults that destroyed Iraq and then Libya and led on to the Western assault on Syria have led to hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees to seek a better life for themselves and their children. The ‘Free Movement’ of the EU is now turning into ‘Fortress Europe’ with frontiers being restored and barbed wired fences everywhere.

The crisis-ridden EU is moving to the right. Freedom of Movement has given way to an anti-refugee axis. The French ruling class has organised an offensive against the trade unions, while the Italian and German governments are seeking to drive refugees deep into North Africa.

The truth of the matter is that the attacks on refugees are a foretaste of the actions to come against the workers of Europe by the bosses and bankers as the trade wars sharpen.

Refugees are not the enemies of the working class. The EU and capitalism are. This is why UK workers must force through a break with the EU now, welcome all refugees and fight alongside the workers of the EU to bring it down and replace it with the Socialist United States of Europe.

This will give fraternal assistance in the development of Africa and the Middle East so that people are not forced to leave their homes and risk their lives and the lives of their children to try and escape starvation.