Remember that revolution in Tunisia? It's over, and they should be forming a new government or something, but apparently some people don't want to participate, and are fleeing in droves (or hordes) to Italy in small boats. Sounds exactly like Camp Of The Saints (including the response):
Italy declares immigration emergency
(AFP) — 21 hours ago
ROME – Italy's government called a humanitarian emergency on Saturday after thousands of asylum-seekers sailed across the Meditarranean from Tunisia, overwhelming authorities on a remote island.
"The cabinet today ... has proclaimed a state of humanitarian emergency following the influx of the large number of citizens from North Africa," the government said in a statement.
The statement said that the decision to call an official emergency would enable civil protection officers "to take immediate action needed to control this phenomenon and assist citizens who have fled from North Africa."
In particular, the move will enable the central government to release funds for local authorities in areas which have been inundated by the wave of refugees, most of whom have fled to the tiny island of Lampedusa.[More]
There's a note in the story saying
In a joint statement, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni and Foreign Minister Franco Frattini also requested "the immediate deployment of a Frontex mission for patrolling and interception off the Tunisian coast," referring to the EU's border security agency based in Warsaw.
I'd never heard of Frontex, (it has a web page) but it seems to be the equivalent of Interpol, intended to protect the borders of the EU, "while also ensuring that respect for fundamental rights and the human dignity of returnees is maintained at every stage of the operation."
Right! Calling for a Frontex mission is like appointing a Task Force or blue-ribbon panel—or for our British Commonwealth readers, a Royal Commission.
What it means is that nothing will at all will be done, but the blame and the costs can be spread around with a big shovel.