Our Nostrum

Late last year two boatloads of illegal immigrants capsized and sank in the Mediterranean Sea between North Africa and Italy, killing more than 350 would-be migrants. The two tragic incidents, coming in close succession, caused huge public relations problems for the Italian government. No one in Italy had requested that those desperate migrants pay extortionate sums to human traffickers and attempt the crossing in overcrowded rickety boats. The Italians never asked for them to come. Nevertheless, “world opinion” blamed the Italian government for its negligence when all those asylum-seekers died.

In response, the government launched Operation Mare Nostrum (“Our Sea” in Latin), whereby the Italian Navy was tasked with rescuing every single migrant who attempted to make it to Italian shores. Rescued refugees were brought to port, fed, clothed, and housed until their “asylum” applications were processed by the relevant EU agencies.

Not surprisingly, the new policy resulted in a huge surge of migrants attempting to make the crossing from Libya or Tunisia to Italy. According to the latest estimates, at least 113,000 refugees have landed in Italy since last October, which is a much higher rate of migration than any I have seen since I started monitoring the situation in the Med seven or eight years ago. In contrast, the “Camp of the Saints” crisis of 2011 — which was an unprecedented wave of migration at the time — amounted to just over 60,000 arrivals over the course of a year.

The Italian government has been complaining to the European Union and petitioning for help with Mare Nostrum ever since the operation began. The European Commission kept promising more financial help, but whatever eventually arrived never quite made up for Italy’s increased expenditures. At the same time the EC repeatedly reminded Italy, Spain, and Greece that the primary responsibility for dealing with migrants lay with the countries at the “point of entry” — that is, they were mostly on their own.

In its latest appeals, the Italian government pointed out that Mare Nostrum was costing the Italian Navy €9 million a month ($11.8 million), out of a total naval budget of €9.2 million. This level of expenditure is clearly unsustainable, and the Italians put the EU on notice that they were going to shut down Mare Nostrum unless Brussels did something.

The most recent Italian complaints (and threats) must have been convincing, because on Wednesday EU Interior Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström announced that Mare Nostrum would be folded into Frontex, the EU border agency, and become “Frontex Plus”. Whether this will be more than a cosmetic change, and actually free Italy from some of the burden of mass migration from Africa, remains to be seen.

The raw figures for Italian spending on Mare Nostrum are disturbingly high. €9 million per month over the last ten months comes to roughly €90 million ($118 million). That’s about €800 ($1050) per surviving refugee.

And those are just the costs to the Italian Navy. After the navy unloads the refugees from its landing craft, the culture-enrichers must be housed, fed, clothed, and provided with asylum lawyers, all at the taxpayers’ expense.

But there’s more. Take a close look at the photo at the top of this post, and the one below:

These photos show boatloads of refugees sometime after they were pulled off the rickety traffickers’ boats and before they were landed safely at a migrants’ processing center.

Each migrant has been issued with a life vest, courtesy of the Italian taxpayer. How much of the €90 million was expended to purchase and distribute those vests?

But there’s more: take a look at the white suit on the Italian sailor herding the migrants to their new home. That’s a protective suit, designed to ward off possible Ebola infection, among other things.

Judging by their appearance, those refugees are East Africans, probably from the Horn of Africa. Somalia and Eritrea are their probable point of origin. At the moment the Ebola outbreak has not reached those locales. Kenya, however — which is just next door to Somalia — is considered by WHO to be at extreme risk of Ebola, so the Italian authorities are right to be concerned. I have no doubt that they are aware of the possibility that, somewhere among all those boatloads of culture-enrichers, an incubator for the Ebola virus is headed for Italian soil.

How much does guarding against such infection cost?

Each immigrant has to be quarantined and tested for Ebola and other pathogens endemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Therapeutic and/or prophylactic medicines must be dispensed. Follow-up treatments must be assayed, lab results tabulated, and detailed records kept. When the migrant is finally cleared, he must be housed in more permanent digs, registered for welfare, and issued a monthly stipend, until the moment comes when he can finally jump the border and make his way to Calais, Berlin, or Malmö.

How much does all of this cost?

I have never seen any estimates of the expense of maintaining these African refugees after their arrival at Lampedusa or Sicily. But it must cost far, far more than the €800 the navy spends to deposit each enrichment unit on Italian soil.

This cannot continue. One way or another, the system will break. And soon.

Hat tips: Insubria and Fjordman.

17 thoughts on “Our Nostrum

  1. It’s getting too stupid for words. When it all blows up I imagine the boats will be full of Euro political refugees going in the opposite direction. Ready to convert for refuge no doubt.

  2. Even if the individual migrants don’t think it is, it is what its effect is–an invasion. Once upon a time, invaders were met with . . . oh, never mind.

  3. Here in Australia we elected a government whose promise was to “stop the boats”. They did. The process was simple. Boats were intercepted on the high seas. They were then towed/driven to just outside the territorial waters of the third country from which they had come (which happened to be Indonesia, where they would have been safe, except they didn’t want to stay there), put on special naval lifeboats with just enough fuel to get them to the coast, and sent them on their way. The message is that they started asking the people smugglers for their money back.
    Any which still managed to get through we taken to off-shore detention centres in the Pacific. If they were not found to be genuine refugees, they would be sent home. If they were found to be genuine refugees (and we only had their word for it, as they had destroyed their documentation) they were told that they could go to some other safe country who would be prepared to take them, but they could not come to Australia.
    And none have.

  4. The larger issue here, which no one in the mainstream wants to talk about, is why the US and EU are incentivizing the wrong actions and bad behaviors.

    Why have our leaders collectively, and suicidally decided that the US and EU must become the world’s poorhouse? Why has it been decided that the tax dollars of honest, hardworking citizens MUST be redistributed to a group of people, who, barring a very few outliers have very little to offer the US and EU other than further dilution of the labor pool and the resultant suppression of wages for the native working citizens?

    Why is this the direction that the US and EU have decided upon rather than incentivizing these peoples to stay in their own countries and work to improve them from within? What could be more “diverse” than encouraging the natives of developing countries to build more modern societies in their homelands?

    Interesting times? More like insane times.

  5. “No one in Italy had requested that those desperate migrants pay extortionate sums…” Where do penniless migrants get the money to pay the extortionate sums?

  6. Those fellows are the leading edge of the invading Islamic Army.

    Good question is right… WHERE DO those PENNILESS people get thousands of dollars to pay for passage to the West???

    QATAR, the bankers of ISIS/IS/ISIL maybe?

  7. attack kat: indeed! I have never ever had a conclusive answer to that question on sites here in Germany or in France! None of these havenots can ever have raised an amount close to a respective annual income in the home country, not even with help from the family.Would you or I have like 35.000 Euro or Pounds and give these away for a 70-mile boattrip? Never in my life have I seen such an amount in cash.Not even the traffickers can advance millions of dollars .So who is behind it? Have our competent services ever intercepted phone calls or bank payments made to that purpose?

  8. There will be War within weeks (October?)! Civil war and one with Russia.

    That should make these criminals think before they come…one hopes. Illegal immigrants are just that- illegal =a criminal act. I don’t give a cuss if they are “looking for a better life!” and “who can blame them garbage” from the “softheads” who care nothing for the fact their children will have to deal with the result. Never has a generation of Europeans been so utterly selfish! We cannot feed and house the bloody world.

    In my parish, in Slough I have two blocks of flats housing these people. They are all on welfare-everyone of them! My own daughter now has a child and has to live with me because she cannot afford to rent or get state help. She has paid her dues for years to the state. I have seen jobless Brits living in cars-whole families in fact. Yet these people get housed and put straight onto welfare and we pay for it like mugs through our taxes.

    If we object we are “racist”, “Nazi” blether blether babbababbaba! Then I get called “UnChristian” and told I should be more “loving” as Bishop! What is “UnChristian about not supporting one’s own left on the streets because the f****** Lefties are doling out free housing and benefits to everybody but native Christians. PLease excuse my unChurch like lingua franca. I deal with these problems daily.

    I have to deal daily with the results….set up food kitchens and loans just so they can support themselves, while our “incomers” live the Life of Riley- brand new Mercs, Toyotas, and TVs- all provided by the tax payer. I am Bishop of mine own. These people are after freebies and it makes me fume! They have their own countries and Imams etc. Charity begins at home!

    Last June a found a leaking grass petrol mower left in the residential hall. One could smell the gasoline 100 yards away. One spark and the whole lot would have gone into orbit! The owner- an asylum seeker on State Benefits set himself up as a gardner, not telling the DWP. If the place had gone up, one supposes they would have blamed “Far Right” or the EDL.

    I contacted the Police and fire- They were not interested so I dealt with it myself but reported the culprit to the Landlord. He was expelled but is now claiming “discrimination”. You can’t win!

  9. Bishop, a few years ago I visited the beautiful new Sikh temple in Southall, just down the road from you.

    I was made very welcome, and offered food, as is anyone visiting. Don’t tar all immigrants or their descendants with the same brush.

    • Tarring “all immigrants with the same brush” may have been been true for some – before the muslim fifth column started its attacks. Today I imagine more and more non muslims families and individuals alike will feel nothing but solidarity as consciousness and awareness of a muslim presence becomes a matter of life and death. A bit like with the AIDS scare except that the condom is conversion for export. (A temporary possible partial fix only though.)

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