Latest figures from the European Union show a remarkable leap in volumes of people coming to Europe, and major point of entry Italy especially, as 64,625 applied for refugee status in the country last year. The figure is a significant increase on the 26,620 who applied in 2013 reports theLocal.it, which itself was a bumper year for arrivals. But both figures are likely to be dwarfed by the number of asylum seekers who will arrive in 2015, when the official figures are released next year.
Almost every week now brings news of a record day of migrants rescued from the Mediterranean by the Italian Navy or coastguard. Breitbart London reported last month on a bumper weekend in which a staggering 2,164 were plucked from the waves, as their ships faltered on the journey to Italy. At one point a single Italian warship had 500 migrants on board.
Italy has become one of the main points of entry into the European Union for migrants and asylum seekers fleeing the chaos of the Levant and North Africa, sailing from Libya to the near-coast of Southern Italy. Providing the rickety boats for these illegal passages has become a major source of income for terrorists and criminal gangs, who have become increasingly brazen with their treatment of both their living cargo, and the Italian authorities.
After an incident with a migrant boat last month, where a gang of machine-gun carrying Libyans threatened an unarmed Italian coastguard ship to return their smuggling boats after the refugees onboard had been rescued, Italy has declared a change of policy. Declared earlier this month, all 11,000 members of the Coastguard will be allowed to carry arms, a move designed to protect them and their ships from both armed criminals and Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists.
The strain of receiving so many ‘new Europeans’ is taking its toll in many parts of Italy where the asylum seekers are billeted. Breitbart London reported last week on an Asylum centre in a Rome suburb which has been the subject of repeated arson attacks in recent months. Last year, it was the focus of a weeks rioting by locals after complaints the inmates were sexually abusing local girls.
Last week, the centre was set on fire again after local residents were told they were to be evicted from their council-owned homes, while the asylum centre was to remain open. Speaking of the migrants, one local said: “The country is in pieces, why don’t they stop dumping boatloads of migrants here? If you’ve got no work, why come here?”.
Despite the seemingly significant figures, Italy is still not the largest importer of humans in Europe. Germany accepts more migrants and asylum seekers than any other European country, and is one of the highest net importers of humans in the world. Across the whole of Europe, there were a staggering 626,000 asylum applications made last year, as the official population of the Euro-28 nations was recorded as having increased by one million people.