Commentary V4

Captain Rackete - symbol of EU’s fiasco

Captain Carola Rackete has been feted by much of the media and many politicians, even received. She is regarded as a symbol and an example. Marek A. Cichocki argues that it should be a symbol of the EU’s migration fiasco.

Carola Rackete, the 30-year-old German who flouted the Italian government’s ban sailed into a port on Lampedusa with several migrants from Africa that she rescued out at sea is regarded as a hero. She has even been called “Captain Europe”. She became an overnight celebrity in Germany and France and the city authorities in Paris decided to honor her with an award. 

This celebration of her actions must be hard to swallow for parts of public opinion in Italy. We can assume that she was driven by a desire to help people in need. But those who celebrate her maybe driven purely by their objections to Matteo Salvini, the leader of the Liga and the Italian Interior Minister. 

Salvini has become the main opponent of Brussels on fiscal and migration matters. He has become a bogeyman following his decision to shut Italian ports to boats with migrants on board. 

The Italian Deputy PM may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but his policies based on respecting legal norms in a given country and its territorial security and sovereignty appeals to many Italians. People who rightly feel that during the migration crisis they have been let down by the EU. 

The island of Lampedusa is for them a symbol of European hypocrisy. Hence why the hero-worship of Rackete in Germany and France is so difficult to take, bearing in mind the role Angela Merkel’s decision to welcome migrants across German borders and the French decision to support the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya played in the whole migration crisis. 

If the Rackete case is symbolic of anything, it is a sign of the fiasco of EU migration policies which has led to a crisis, division and rancor in Europe. 

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