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Matteo Salvini. Screenshot from RAI

Salvini urges Vatican, Mediterranean rescuers to follow rules

Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini criticised the Vatican after the papal authority turned the electricity back on at a Rome building which is illegally occupied.

Published: May 14, 2019, 8:30 am


    On Monday, the papal almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski turned on power back on of a building that has been without power since May 6 due to a dispute over unpaid bills.

    A complaint against person or persons unknown for illegally hooking up the site and stealing energy was filed by Areti, the power network company of Rome electricity utility ACEA. Areti sources said it was essential to get back into the building to make the power generator safe.

    “Supporting illegal conduct is never a good signal,” League leader Salvini commented. “There are lots of Italian people and legally resident immigrants who pay their bills, even if they are in difficulty. “As interior minister, I guarantee the rules (are respected).

    “If the people in the Vatican want to pay the bills of all the Italians in hardship, we give them a bank account (for it)”.

    But Krajewski said he was unrepentant about the move. “I did it for the children,” he told Corriere della Sera. “I assume all the responsibility. I don’t have to give any explanations. From now on, I’ll pay the bills”.

    Salvini has also warned the German non-governmental organization (NGO) Sea-Watch to follow rules. He urged them not to rescue asylum seekers in the Mediterranean. “Note to the sailors: Do not even think of helping people smugglers to take in immigrants and bring them to Italy, because you will be stopped, with all sorts of legal means,” Salvini noted on Facebook.

    “This communication is also addressed to the nostalgics of ‘open ports’ represented in Parliament,” he added.

    The Sea-Watch 3 sailed from Marseille on Saturday under a Dutch flag and is, according to Salvini on its way to the Libyan “Search and Rescue” zone. Last week, a court in The Hague had granted the organization permission to continue sailing under the Dutch flag in the Mediterranean.

    Salvini has announced a tougher course of action against human trafficking posing as relief organisations.

    Most recently, the ship had been blocked in the same way as others trying to dock. At the weekend, the Interior Minister announced fines for those responsible for migrant vessels. The Italian media reported that if any such ship sails under the Italian flag, its license will be withdrawn.

    Meanwhile, Sea-Watch again criticized the immigration policy of the European Union. “Europe is using drowning as a deterrent to people who only have the choice between torture and death or the Mediterranean. As long as Europe refuses safe entry routes and the international legal obligation to rescue the sea, we will do everything we can to save as many people as possible,” said the Chief of Operations of Sea-Watch 3, Philipp Hahn.

    On Friday, according to the International Organization for Migration, about 70 people drowned on the way to Europe in the Mediterranean.

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