The Italian government has long been complaining about the European Union's migration policy but Interior Minister Matteo Salvini did not take part in Monday's meeting.
Salvini, who decided to close Italy's ports to migrant rescue boats run by non-governmental organisations, said after the meeting that Italy was no longer willing to accept all the migrants arriving in Europe, stressing that Paris and Berlin cannot decide on the European Union's migration policy, while ignoring the demands of countries that are most exposed to migrant arrivals.
Dr Malte Kaufmann, chairman of the party Alternative for Germany for the Heidelberg District, has spoken about the newly-approved "solidarity mechanism" amid intra-EU tensions over the issue.
Sputnik: The so-called "solidarity mechanism" authored by Germany and France is once again calling for the equal distribution of newly-arrived refugees among EU countries. In your view, how successful has this strategy been?
Dr Malte Kaufmann: It has been totally unsuccessful. I think the very opposite should be done. We should block the route over the Mediterranean to Europe and take everyone who has come on a boat to Europe back to Northern Africa.
Because such a system will only attract even more migrants from all over Africa, not only Libya but all over Africa to come to Europe. I think we should install a system like in Australia.
They have a "no way" policy. There is "no way" you can enter Australia by boat. That has caused the illegal migration to drop drastically and there is hardly anyone who drowns on the shores of Australia now because of this policy that was installed about four and a half years ago. And I think we should do the same thing in Europe.
Sputnik: During the recent European parliamentary elections, right-wing parties gained a large number of seats. However, Brussels' rhetoric towards the migrant crisis has not changed. In your opinion, when will the disagreement between the countries of the European Union come to a head, and what do you expect the consequences to be?
Dr Malte Kaufmann: There is really a big clash right now in the European Union, that's it is totally true. Between countries like Germany and France who are pro-migration would like to attract even more migrants to Europe and others European countries such as Italy or Hungary who say "We have enough now, we don't want to do this anymore".
And there must be somehow a way to get out of this crisis. And I think Germany and France right now are pulling in the totally wrong direction.
The consequences will be that there is even more antipathy against the European Union that will strengthen the right-wing parties in Italy, Hungary, and Eastern Europe, other countries.
I think they will gain in the upcoming national elections and also in Germany, we have some state elections the fall in Eastern Germany. tThe AfD has the highest number in the polls right now. I think that is the natural consequences because of this policy that Merkel and the German government are installing right now.
Sputnik: Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini did not take part in the meeting on Monday, calling it a "fiasco". In your opinion, what other EU countries agree with Salvini that Brussels' migration policy is a failure?
Dr Malte Kaufmann: Well, first of all, I am really afraid that the European Union will drift even more apart even fall apart. We have the Brexit that is coming shortly. And I am afraid that other countries will come to a point where they say we've had enough with this European Union and other countries will drop out.
Italy could be one example and Salvini is totally right because this new automatic distribution of refugees attracts human traffickers to get even more migrants on the boats and have them be shipped to Europe. [...] We've had this incident with the German captain Carola Rakita who was put in jail for a short while in Italy and that's causing big interior problems in Italy. I can totally understand Mr Salvini that he boycotts such meeting at the moment.
Sputnik: What would a successful European migration policy look like, according to the AFD Party?
Dr Malte Kaufmann: A successful European migration policy would be if we say – wait a minute it is not possible to come to Europe by entering a boat and pay human traffickers to go over the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. That should be not possible; people that do that should be brought back right away to Northern Africa. We would have to make some treaties with Northern African countries like Tunisia, Algeria.
I am sure we could have some possibilities, we could even pay a lot of money to have safe havens over there but not in Europe! And once we would do that for a couple of months then it would also not be attractive anymore for migrants to pay $10,000 to human traffickers to go on a boat because they know that they would be sent back.
So that would stop migration flow from Northern Africa to Europe. And then we can have an open system where each European Union country can say how many migrants they would like to have and from which countries, what their qualification should be and these migrants can apply in their home countries and then they can be flown to Europe.
But it should not be a system like that at the moment where women are raped on the migration routes, where people die in the Sahara Desert and even drown in the Mediterranean Sea. That's a terrible situation and I think it can be only be stopped if we block this route.
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