The Italian Job

By Danielle DiMartino Booth

“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”

That one line, spoken on the big screen by Michael Caine was crowned, according to a 2003 Daily Telegraph survey, Britain’s favorite one-liner of film. That kind of staying power is remarkable considering The Italian Job, the original that is, was released in 1969, two years before Mark Wahlberg, who portrayed Caine’s character, Charlie Croker, in the movie’s 2003 remake, made his 1971 debut.

As for the film’s American version and one-liners, the crown for favorite was won when Charlie’s 2003 on-screen nemesis Steve taunted: “You blew the best thing you had going for you. You blew the element of surprise.” Charlie’s reaction? A knock-out punch followed seamlessly by the understated comeback, “Surprised?”

The Italian Job

The element of surprise was on full display in the hours and days that followed Britain’s voters’ decisive move to Leave the EU. The Brexit referendum succeeded in blowing off a different set of doors, leaving taunting politicians and policymakers alike flat-footed, with a whole new fear, that of contagion, beginning to the south in Italy. Might the Italians pull of a Job of their own, following Great Britain’s lead in stealing back their own country?

The hope, stated diplomatically by Gluskin Sheff’s inimitable David Rosenberg, a dear friend, is that Brexit will prove to be a, “wakeup call for the long-awaited fundamental changes with regards to the EU – make it more democratic and make it less bureaucratic and embark on immigration rules that do not sacrifice regional security.”

Rosenberg’s concerns on security are more than justified in the case of Italy. According to the Italian Coast Guards’ latest tally, the 3,324 migrants rescued June 26 brought the total rescued in just four days to 10,000. Four days! Calm seas have triggered fresh waves of migrants, bringing the total thus far this year to 66,000. The forecast calls for 10,000 more to arrive every week until year’s end. Some 300,000 in total for 2016. The ease with which migrants can cross the seas to Italy means that country takes in 13 to 14 times more than Turkey and Greece. Is it any wonder Italians are exhausted?

At a Brussels Summit, EU leaders were urged to “speed up and increase” the return of migrants deemed to not be bona-fide refugees. In actuality, many making the crossing are simply looking for economic opportunity rather than escaping any real danger. Estimates vary, but only between six and 19 percent of those ordered back to their home countries actually leave. It is patently apparent that the EU does not have sufficient measures in place to combat the problem on behalf of its disgruntled member nations, and must become much more vigilant in its approach.

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