Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti has warned of the possible infiltration by Islamist foreign fighters of migrant flows and stressed that European security also lies in the capacity of member states to integrate new arrivals.
There is a "new phase in the threat" posed by Islamic State following its military defeat in Mosul and Raqqa, Italy's Interior Minister Marco Minniti has said. The terrorist organisation could rear its head again in Europe, with fleeing foreign fighters mingling with migrant flows, he added. To prevent this from happening it is necessary to support the change of pace in relations seen in recent months, and which received a boost at the summit in Abidjan.
Security and management of flows are challenges for Europe
Security and management of migrant flows are for Minniti two major challenges facing Europe in its relationship with Africa as the destinies of the two continents become increasingly linked over the coming years. Control of Libya's southern borders and North Africa's sea borders is key to security policy. However, the minister also insists that security also lies in EU member states' capacity to integrate migrants, which is why the Italian government has approved an important plan.Migrant reception "finds its objective limit in countries' capacity for integration," Minniti explained. Indeed, though there is no evidence of a direct link between migration and terrorism there is an equation "between failed integration and terrorism". Governments that ignore this aspect "are careless about their present and future".
Foreign fighters 'crucial' challenge for Europe
"It is reasonable to think that (ISIS) could step up its terrorist challenge" to demonstrate its strength, attraction and recruiting ability, Minniti said. "And the issue of foreign fighters is destined to characterise the next few years: it will be crucial for Europe," he added. Many of the foreign fighters that made Daesh so strong are now trying to return to their home countries and they could do this by infiltrating migrant flows, Minniti warned. "If someone had asked me 10 months ago if I thought it was realistic. I would definitely have said no.(However) we are faced with a military checkmate, which presupposes flight, a confused withdrawal, a returning diaspora," he said. In this context the possibility that foreign fighters "intercept migrant flows on an individual level cannot be ruled out,"Minniti concluded.