Nicholas Farrell

Anis Amri’s unchecked passage across Europe is nothing short of a scandal

Anis Amri's unchecked passage across Europe is nothing short of a scandal
Text settings

That the Tunisian terrorist who slaughtered 12 people in Berlin on Monday was even in Europe, let alone able to move about Europe with ease, is a scandal. It shows that the policy of the European Union and its member nations on the migrant crisis is a complete and dangerous failure. The collective refusal of the European liberal elite to face up to this fact promises further disaster.

Anis Amri, 24, had no legal let alone moral right to be in Europe, and yet he had been here since 2011 when he arrived in a migrant boat on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa. Shortly afterwards, he was jailed for four years after he set fire to a migrant welcome centre in Sicily. On his release in 2015, he was ordered by Italian authorities to return home. Instead, he was able somehow to move on to Germany.

Even this week, once Amri had become the most wanted man in Europe, he was able to travel back from Berlin - it is still unclear how, or by which route - to Chambery in France, according to police (despite France being a country supposedly in a state of emergency) and from there by train to Turin in Italy; and then to Sesto San Giovanni, on the outskirts of Milan. There, by chance, two policemen in a patrol car saw him walking down the street outside the station in the early hours of the morning, and stopped him to carry out a routine check. So he took a pistol out of his rucksack, shouted 'Allahu Akbah!' and opened fire, wounding one of the policeman in the shoulder. The other policeman then shot him dead. Forensic tests later identified him from his fingerprints.

This year, 180,000 migrants have arrived in Italy by sea, which is a new record. Packed into unseaworthy open boats, these people knew that they would be picked up by vessels whose mission is to ferry them to Italy and other European countries - and hence into the EU. Such a policy is madness. It would be cheaper to provide a regular free charter flight service.  And – as everyone knows - it is also based on a lie: we are ferrying these migrants into the EU – so the argument goes - to save their lives and to send back all except genuine refugees which, certainly in the case of Italy, means the overwhelming majority as nearly all are from sub-Saharan Africa. But hardly any of them – as everyone also knows – ever do get sent back.

Last year, 153,000 migrants arrived in Italy by sea. Italian courts issued 30,000 migrant expulsion orders, but only half that number were actually enforced. Of those who stay, few claim asylum in Italy. The rest? They disappear. Many head north, as Amri did, to countries such as Germany, or Britain, where there is more work and more welfare. Amri was not merely a false refugee but also a fugitive from justice. He did a runner from Tunisia during the Arab Spring to escape jail for a string of crimes. Just what kind of twisted and insane mindset thinks that someone like him has any right to be in Europe?

On his release from prison, he moved without any problem at all to Germany, where he had the nerve to claim asylum. He was again refused this, but could not be deported because he did not have the relevant documentation. But why on earth was this Tunisian not kicked out of Italy in the first place?

The failure by both the EU and successive Italian governments to stop the flood of boat people into Italy is causing Italians to become ever more hostile to all three. More and more Italian town councils, of whatever political persuasion, are now doing all they can to refuse to house the migrants the Italian government is foisting on them. In October, the inhabitants of a cockle-fishing village in the Po Delta on the Adriatic coast near Ferrara - a traditional stronghold of the Italian Communist Party – even barricaded the roads to stop a coach load of migrants. As Vittorio Feltri, editor of the Milan daily Libero put it in his editorial, published the day after the Berlin massacre:

'What are we supposed to do except hate those who hate us? We are exhausted. We want to liberate ourselves from those who threaten us and exterminate us. Coraggio, mandiamo questa gente fuori dai coglioni (courage, let’s get these people out of our testicles)'