Italy threatens to close airports in standoff with Germany over migrants
Italy has threatened to close its airports to German flights transporting migrants in a dispute over how to share responsibility for asylum seekers that has continued to escalate.
Published: October 8, 2018, 10:29 am
Germany plans to send migrants back to Italy if they have already applied for asylum there, but Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini warned that there would be “no airport available” for any flights transporting migrants.
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, is preparing to send the first group of 40 migrants back to Italy on two flights scheduled to land in Rome this week, according to reports.
Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported that Germany’s refugee agency, the Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge or BAMF, has sent “dozens of letters” to migrants alerting them to a planned transfer back to Italy.
Charter flights for returning migrants may be arranged as early as next week, but Salvini said in response to the news: “If someone, in Berlin or Brussels, thinks of dumping dozens of immigrants in Italy via unauthorised charter flights, they should know that there is not and there will be no airport available.
“We will close the airports as we closed the ports.” Italian media say up to 40 000 migrants could be repatriated from Germany soon.
Neither Italian or German officials would confirm planned charter flights however. But last month Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced a deal with Italy that would soon be made official.
A day after Seehofer’s announcement, Salvini refuted his claim. He said Germany had agreed that for every migrant returned to Italy, German authorities would accept an asylum seeker.
Salvini also demanded further concessions – including a revision of the EU’s Dublin Regulation which dictates that the country of arrival should take responsibility for asylum. The Italian leader has argued the Dublin rule shifts the burden onto Mediterranean frontier states such as Italy and Greece while EU countries are able avoid responsibly.
The regulation expressly states that the member state in which an asylum seeker first arrives, is responsible for processing the claim.
According to Welt am Sonntag, a weekly German newspaper, Seehofer has urged German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to intervene to end the standoff.
“The agreement has been negotiated and follows the same principle as with Greece. We return refugees back to Italy, but we must take in the same number from sea rescues.”
“But now Salvini is suddenly saying: I will only sign if Germany backs Italy’s position on asylum in the European Union. The heads of government are required to act (to solve this).”
Both Seehofer and Merkel is under greater pressure ahead of Bavarian elections next week, with the migrant arrivals at the forefront of the campaign.
Seehofer meanwhile appears to have backed down. He told the Italian news agency, ANSA: “No repatriation flights to Italy were being planned in the coming days.
A new poll published by an Italian daily Corriere Della Sera on Saturday showed support for Salvini’s party at all-time high of 34 percent, with its coalition partner the Five Star Movement down slightly to 28.5 percent.
Stephan Reichel, president of the German NGO ironically named Matteo, said migrants in Germany were afraid of being sent back to Italy.
Reichel told The Telegraph: “There is no shelter, there is nothing organised. Most of them have to sleep on the streets without medical care.”
He called the Italian interior minister’s attitude “racist and neofascist”.
All rights reserved. You have permission to quote freely from the articles provided that the source (www.freewestmedia.com) is given. Photos may not be used without our consent.
Consider donating to support our work
Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.
Keep your language polite. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in, for example, Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.
If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violations of any law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.
If your comments are subject to preview by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.
We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.
The latest judgment by the European Court of Justice (file number C-517/17 ), which was published on July 16, received little media attention. This decision calls into question the European asylum system.
Despite a long period of lock-down nearly all over the world, the speed of geopolitical processes have not slowed down, nor have the attempts to reflect and analyze them through documentaries and movies based on true stories.
WarsawEven if the political debate over The Istanbul Convention is also a uniquely Polish debate about the conservative orientation of the country's domestic politics, the criticism against this Convention is more than justified.
BordeauxAfter he was attacked and stripped of his belongings by an organised gang, a Bordeaux journalist gave a distraught view of his city, which he says he no longer recognizes. Residents report thefts and violent attacks on a daily basis. The mayor is worried about a "climate emergency" however.
BörlangeThe Somali taxi driver in the Swedish town of Borlänge who ran down a group of pedestrians recently, wanted to take revenge on his intended victim because the person had reported him for child molestation.
In May, the immigrant Bekim Dzelili was initially sentenced by the district court to 13 years in prison and deportation for life. He was found guilty of repeated aggravated child rape, the aggravated sexual abuse of a child, assault and unlawful threats. But the Swedish Court of Appeal has since reduced his prison sentence by one year and has canceled the deportation - the perpetrator may remain in Sweden because he has a "weak connection to his home country".
RomeImages of an illegal migrant landing that took place on 28 July on the most popular beach among shocked tourists and holiday makers, was broadcast by Italian CorriereTV. But the government is instead concerned about the politician who had tried to stop these illegal landings.
Sweden used to be a 'model society'. But no more.
MunichThe two large churches in Germany have drawn a positive interim assessment of the 2015 wave of migrants. Around half of those who came at the time are being trained or have jobs today, said the Council President of the Evangelical Church in Germany, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm.
IstanbulYesterday, the first official Islamic Friday prayer took place at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. The controversy of the re-conversion of the former Christian Orthodox cathedral into a mosque is also hotly being discussed in Europe.