ALGIERS – The flow of illegal migrants in the Mediterranean experienced a significant decline during the year 2018, suggesting that the crisis was "surpassed", but not less than 2,262 of the 113,482 people who tried to reach the north shore of the sea perished during their "adventure".
The figure of 2,262 people who died in the Mediterranean in their attempts to reach Europe in 2018, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), illustrates how this humanitarian tragedy calls for international mobilization , were unanimous organizations around the world.
The Mediterranean is one of the deadliest migratory corridors in the world, according to the International Migration Organization's (IOM) draft report on missing migrants (MMP).
A total of 113,482 migrants and refugees illegally reached European shores in 2018, via two main routes: a western one, for the crossing of Morocco to Spain, and the other eastern one which refers to the sea crossing of migrants from the central and eastern countries of the region – mainly Libya – to Italy.
Spain, including the enclaves of Ceuta and Mellila, recorded during the past year 120,205 arrivals, at a time when Italy experienced a real relief during the same year by recording only 23,371 arrivals, much less than in 2017 with a batch of 119,369 migrants, according to the UNHCR, which also advanced the figure of 32,497 illegal arrivals, by sea, in Greece.
In 2018, the first country of origin of migrants and refugees who arrived in the old continent was Guinea (13,068 people), followed by Morocco (12,745) and Mali (10,347). Syria was only the fourth country of departure for migrating migrants, followed by Afghanistan and Iraq.
These figures mark a drastic fall from the "peak" of 1.015 million arrivals in the old continent in 2015, but mortality has also increased relatively in 2018 compared to the previous year.
== Diplomatic Crisis in Europe ==
However, the decline in migratory arrivals did not allow Europeans to agree on a doctrine of management of this phenomenon. On the contrary, the year 2018 was marked by a controversial debate between the countries of the European Union (EU) around the reception of illegal migrants among which there are still refugees.
At a summit in June, EU leaders, 28 countries, agreed to seek a long-term solution to the issue of landing migrants rescued in the Mediterranean, under pressure from Italy, who had even closed its ports to NGO ships. But these discussions stalled and diplomatic wrangling was often engaged between European capitals after each rescue operation.
This is why several humanitarian ships have been forced to stay off the big blue since the summer, failing to find a port where to dock. Each situation was unblocked with an agreement found urgently between European countries for the distribution of migrants rescued from certain death.
EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos says the migration crisis has been "surpassed", but this influx is posing other problems for European societies such as the rise of the far right in several European countries . For him, it is a question of opening a dialogue with the countries of the South and treating these problems in all aspects, including the integration of migrants in Europe, the fight against extremism and terrorism.
Faced with such an exacerbation of the phenomenon, the EU tried hard to find the miracle alternative by opting for the involvement of transit countries.
== "No outsourcing" in North Africa ==
The European Union also proposed, at the end of June, to install asylum processing centers in the North African countries, this request for "outsourcing" was categorically refused.
In a statement, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia declared that "Algeria will not accept to host such centers that Libya and Tunisia have also refused for the umpteenth time".
The countries of North Africa, especially as transit countries, refuse to be "sandwiched" between the refugee and migrant-receiving countries, mainly those of the Sahel-Saharan strip, and the host country on the northern shore of the Mediterranean.
The countries of the South, therefore of North Africa, call to treat the question at the source, inviting the European countries to cooperate more to fight against the causes of these migrations, which are of an economic, social order or secure.
At a time when the debate remains open on this scourge, the UN General Assembly – 165 countries – ratified, in a first step, on December 19, by a very large majority, the Global Compact for Migration, intended to strengthen international cooperation for "safe, orderly and regular migration".
The non-binding document aims first and foremost to strengthen "cooperation on international migration in all their aspects". The countries that rejected the Covenant argued that they wanted to maintain a national management of migration flows and that they feared the use of the Covenant in legal proceedings.