What is happening in the Mediterranean Sea is a crime against humanity
Interviewed by the French radio station RMC on dramas in the Mediterranean Sea, the President of the European Democratic Party Francois Bayrou recalled the position of the EDP, that the smugglers are guilty of crimes against humanity.
Let’s talk about the puzzle of the moment, namely these migrants trying to flee war or misery, or both. These migrants try to cross the Mediterranean, there has been this last weekend drama 800 people drowned off Libya. Should France repair the chaos it caused in Libya by dropping the Gaddafi regime? Should we feel guilty?
We must in any case feel responsible. At the time the decision was taken – honestly – with some casualness, without any reflection. It was legitimate to intervene to protect Benghazi. I took the floor in the National Assembly in order to say: “Benghazi, it’s fine but how will you put an end to the operation?” This question never received a slight ounce of a start of a beginning of a draft answer.
It caused one of the greatest geopolitical catastrophes that we could ever imagine because it dispersed billions of dollars of weapons, destabilising a little more, creating more chaos and so we had to intervene in Mali. We did well, I supported this intervention in Mali, but it would have been in my view, a very mistake to intervene in Syria. I was opposed to this position that was frankly quite generally shared, as Nicolas Sarkozy wanted us to bomb, Hollande wanted us to bomb.
Maybe we should have done it; Assad would not be here today.
If Assad was not there today, I am afraid that the jihadists would be there instead.
The jihadists have strengthened due to the deterioration of the situation. Now what do we do, François Bayrou? Now that there have been damages, what we do?
Let us simply focus a minute on what is happening on the Libyan coast. This involves several things: a crime against humanity - I am surprised that these human trafficking are not yet classified as crimes against humanity, the European Democratic Party which I am one of the two presidents with Francesco Rutelli, made such a proposal.
The smugglers must be brought before an international court?
Yes, they must be condemned and punished severely because it's terrible. The poor people who drown, have been asked thousands of dollars to board boats where then they are trapped. What is the strategy of these people? It is very simple: "we will put you aboard those rusty old boats and when these boats are about to sink, Europeans will recover you because it is the law of international solidarity and so you will be allowed as immigrants." You see that it is intentional. This death is intentional. So what can we do? Because that's the question! First, the approach needs to be an international one; the UN has to move itself…
So not only Europe?
A global approach with Europe in the first place. You know that we have an operation called Frontex. Today, Frontex’s budget – listen up – is lower than the city of Pau [80.000 inhabitants]. We obviously cannot let thousands of migrants in the European territory because we would have an extremely violent reaction against them, against these women and men. So you have to monitor the coast – we have enough satellites and enough electronic means of intervention to monitor the departure of hundreds of miles of sensitive coast of Libya. Then, we must impose to the remaining Libyan authorities that we will repatriate those people who are leaving. Because the whole point is there: we are not required to bring them back, we have to let them in. This is why they pay thousands of dollars to get on the boats! You see that there is a reconstruction process that should be accompanied by international authorities of an influence to create an authority almost legitimate on the torn floor of Libya. That's what we have to do.
Still, we can host a little more migrants! 5 of the 28 EU Member States welcome them. Could we not agree to that there should be a distribution of migrants among all countries of the European Union? Europe must move itself!
You have in front of you someone who is for Europe to advance.