Italian Navy leading role in the European migrant crisis
Why Foreing Policy is wrong in claiming that the crisis has helped the country to make its Army more popular
A very interesting article untangling the Italian perspective on the migration crisis was published yesterday on Foreign Policy website. Despite a very misleading title "How Migrants Rescued the Italian Navy", Elisabeth Braw started her piece highlighting that "with the possible exception of Germany and Sweden's overwhelmed immigration agencies, few institutions on the front lines of the migrant crisis have played a more prominent role than the Italian Navy. Every day, its ships and sailors rescue dozens ?" sometimes hundreds ?" of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean in leaky, overcrowded vessels".
According to the data collected by the Italian Ministry of Defence, over the course of the past year, the Italian Navy rescued 47,335 men and women in trouble at sea, and although it is a matter of fact that "Italy has taken the lead among European nations in rescuing migrants trying to make the dangerous crossing from North Africa" mainly for geographical region, as Italy is just located at the other side of the Mediterranean Sea, it is a bit unfair to claim that the Italian Navy "has managed to parlay these rescues into a popularity boost", turning sailors into heroes and "securing funding for long into the future".
It is not because sailors are trendy that the Italian government just granted the Navy ?5.4 billion for new vessels, as the country would have renewed its fleet anyway.
Italy knows that the migrant crisis is an emergency that needs to be approached fast and efficiently. Rome already asked many times for European support, but the problem is that no matter what kind of help it will receive, Italy has to face this emergency anyway. And as many Captains and Admirals would recall, "At sea there is only one law: if you're in difficulty you're rescued." And this is exactly what Italy is doing. Not for raising its popularity, not for securing new funds, rather to help people that are in difficulty. And by the way, the Italian Navy is not advertising its achievement on Twitter or YouTube because they want to be seen as trendy, rather because we are living in the social media era and these kinds of notifications have just become the new normal.