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Executive Summary for August 3rd

We review the latest refugee-related issues, including the Libyan parliament opposing the Italian navy entering its waters, a poll that finds majority support in Poland for refugees, and a survey showing that more than half of young Syrians do not see a way home.

Published on Aug. 3, 2017 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Libyan Parliament Denounces Plan to Allow Italian Navy Into Its Waters

Libya’s parliament is opposing a plan to allow Italian navy ships to enter its territorial waters. The move follows an Italian vote to enable its vessels to disrupt migrant flows from Libya.

The Libyan parliament, based in Tobruk in the east of Libya, warned that an Italian operation would amount to “exporting the illegal migration crisis to Libya.”

Under pressure from Italy, the U.N.-backed administration in Libya, based in Tripoli in the west of the country, has been accused of making a deal with Rome that would allow the Italian navy to enter Libyan waters.

Libya’s prime minister, Fayez Serraj, denies having struck such a deal but his Italian counterpart, Paolo Gentiloni, says Tripoli has requested help.

Libya’s parliament said a foreign navy conducting operations in Libyan waters would be a “violation to the sovereignty of Libya.”

Italy has denied preparing a blockade to prevent migrant boats reaching Europe but this is what some right-wing parties in Italy are calling for. The arrival of hundreds of thousands of irregular migrants has become an issue ahead of elections in Italy in 2018.

Poles Want to Help Refugees Despite Government Stance, Poll Finds

The majority of Poles want to help refugees, according to a new poll. The result casts doubt on public support for the Polish government’s refusal to resettle refugees.

Poland’s nationalist government has set itself on a collision course with the E.U. by refusing to participate in a Europe-wide program to relocate asylum seekers.

The plan, which expires in September, was meant to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece but has achieved only a fraction of its target.

The government’s anti-refugee rhetoric was thought to be popular within Poland but a Eurobarometer poll found 56 percent of Polish interviewees said they thought Poland should help refugees. The figure was a 3 percent increase on a similar poll conducted last fall, while those who opposed assisting refugees fell by one percentage point to 36 percent.

Poland faces potential fines under a disciplinary procedure for its refusal to take in refugees.

Some 1,000 people were interviewed in Poland during May for the poll, while 33,000 interviews were conducted across the E.U. Fellow critics of relocation, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary, showed a majority in favor of not helping refugees.

Across the E.U. an average of 67 percent of interviewees said their countries should help refugees, peaking in Sweden with 90 percent support.

Majority of Young Syrians Doubt They Will Return to Homeland

Half of young Syrian refugees no longer believe they will return home. The survey of Syrians aged 18–24 in camps in Lebanon and Jordan found 54 percent doubt their return.

Young Syrian refugees view Canada, the U.S., the UAE and Germany as the top countries they would like to live in.

Sunil John, the head of one of the survey companies, ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, said: “More than half of the young Syrians we surveyed – all living in severe poverty, in cramped refugee settlements just miles from their homeland – say they don’t think they will ever permanently return to Syria.”

The young respondents said the war must end and that ISIS must be driven out of Syria for them to contemplate going home. A smaller number said that President Bashar al-Assad must leave office.

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