European humanitarian corridors from Libya, interest from Conte

Agenzia NEV –19 June 2019

Replying to a joint letter from the president of the Federation of Protestant Churches in italy (FCEI), Pastor Luca Maria Negro, and the president of the Community of Sant’Egidio, Professor Marco Impagliazzo, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has expressed interest in the proposal put forward for a European humanitarian corridor from Libya.

A new safe and legal pathway into Europe is proposed for 50,000 refugees who, via a quota system, should be hosted by those European countries willing to participate in the project.

Sharing the presidents’ assessment of a situation of “serious and persistent instability” in Libya, the premier emphasised the need for a greater common commitment by European countries towards refugees and migrants.  In this connection, he cites as a model the “good practice” of Italian “humanitarian corridors” launched on a completely self-funded basis by the FCEI, Waldensian Board and Community of Sant’Egidio.  The corridors have since February 2016 ensured safe and legal access to Italy for more than 1,500 migrants from Lebanon and inspired other agreements in Italy, France, Belgium and Andorra, permitting more than 2,500 arrivals overall into Europe.  

From here, the Prime Minister’s task will be to explore the proposal for a “European humanitarian corridor” with EU partners in the “shared knowledge that we must tackle the current emergency in a coordinated fashion using appropriate operational and financial tools.”  Italy would take responsibility for a proportion of the migrants to be hosted and would ask all other European countries to do likewise.

“We thank the premier for his timely response to the plan and we trust that within a short time an inter-ministerial committee can begin working to develop its implementation,” comments Pastor Luca M. Negro.  “The letter, written in the first person by the premier, attests to the interest with which which the government has considered our proposal; moreover, he confirms the support expressed many times by Vice-minister Hon. Emanuela Del Re for the “humanitarian corridors” programme begun in 2016.  As Protestants,” the FCEI president highlights in conclusion, “we are already asking our European sister churches to press their own governments to provide practical support for the Italian proposal”.

“Humanitarian corridors,” affirms Sant’Egidio president, Marco Impagliazzo, “have united Italy in a civil society project which is capable of saving people from death traffickers and integrating them into the European civil and social fabric.  The interest expressed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in the proposal to establish a European humanitarian corridor from Libya is an important recognition of a model which has already been proven to work: if implemented, as we hope it will be, it will serve to protect those whose lives are currently at risk in a country afflicted by a civil war which knows no end, and who are subjected daily to every kind of torture and harassment”.