We hear so much nowadays about the events that happen in the Mediterranean area and how they effect our lives. A full understanding of the historical and cultural backgrounds that are present in the Mediterranean region is vital in order to understand the very complicated issues that afflict the area.

The Mediterranean region has always been an area of communication between many different cultural blocs of countries. Ever since ancient times the sea has been the main route for travellers, merchants but also conquerors and the contrasting heritages that found themselves so close to each other have always been the cause of many tensions.

The most recent issue of terrorism has afflicted the region over many decades and it is considered the result of the failed attempt to create the state of Israel at the end of World War II. The dialogue has become particularly difficult because of governmental transformations taking place: Middle East has had and still has a number of different authoritarian regimes in place many of which were legitimized by the international community, this usually happened after an attempt to establish potential democracies. Because of these complicated issues, the amount of migrants leaving their countries hoping to have a better and peaceful future incredibly increased during the past few years. These migrants are often exposed to many different risks: movements are often along different routes, being monitored by traffickers and smugglers, which opens the possibility for various forms of exploitation.

Europe has always represented a safe place for immigrants and refugees. In 2015 Syrian crisis caused an increasing number of refugees. It has been estimated that Europe is facing with the largest migration of displaced people since the end of World War II. In this scenario, EU presented a plan to distribute refugees across Europe, that found the resistance of the poorer countries of Eastern Europe. Considering the last terroristic event, that afflicted European countries in November 2015, Europe is becoming increasingly aware about the problem related to the control of migrant flows. As a consequence of the risks of terrorism, especially after Paris attacks, France called for an effective suspension of Schengen Agreement on open borders across Europe.

However we must remember that the Mediterranean remains the main passageway for people fleeing their war-torn homelands and as always a balance has to be struck between aiding the people in real distress and maintaining a very high level of security. German chancellor Angela Merkel rejects criticism of open-door policy, saying Europe must tackle the causes of the migration crisis by working for peace in Syria. She stated: “The strongest response to terrorists is to carry on living our lives and our values as we have until now – self-confident and free, considerate and engaged. We Europeans will show our free life is stronger than any terror” .

However complex it may be the states involved in the Mediterranean area as a whole must work together with the goal of assuring a state of peace and the safety of civilians all around the world.

Federica Fabrizi 
Lily Scarponi
Giorgia Verna