ITALY’S Coastguard and navy saved some 3,000 refugees from overcrowded boats struggling to stay afloat as they crossed the Mediterranean trying to get into the European Union this week.

More than 2,000 immigrants arrived on Italian shores in January 2014 – a tenfold increase on the 217 in January 2013. Spain has two enclaves Melilla and Ceuta in North Africa. These are closely-protected by Spanish and Moroccan police against refugees.

Some 1,000 Africans stormed the Melilla border in heavy fog on March 17 and half of them succeeded in reaching Spanish soil in Melilla. The successful ones then sang as they were marched to the refugee camp.

More than 1,000 refugees have succeeded in reaching Ceuta and Melilla in just the first ten weeks of 2014 – the same number as achieved this in the whole of 2013.

A demographic time-bomb is ticking and comparatively wealthy Europe has a whole host of problems.

The population is ageing and, in some countries, in decline. Europe lacks robust policies and plans to address the immigration problem or a defined European concept of placing immigrants.

Europe’s foreign policy towards the countries of origin of the refugees is not credible due to the lack of an efficient defence, and its labour and welfare systems are over-bureaucratic and do not allow immigrants to be placed immediately in useful work.

Immigration can, however, have positive effects if it is handled properly. The principle of hope never works and, as GIS has reported repeatedly, these problems need addressing urgently at European level.

A demographic tsunami is building up and too much time has been wasted already addressing this issue.

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