Skip to Content

Matteo Salvini. Screenshot from RAI
Rome

Italy stops French initiative to open ports to migrant landings

Italian Interior Ministry officials at the informal EU interior ministries' meeting on Mediterranean migration in Paris on Monday stopped a French initiative towards a joint document and demanded the rotation of safe ports for landing migrants.

Published: July 23, 2019, 8:37 am

    Read more

    The Interior Ministry reiterated the request for “mechanisms of temporary distribution of all irregular migrants and rotation of safe ports for landing the persons rescued at sea, so that reception does not weigh only on Italy and Malta who thus risk becoming the hot spot of Europe”.

    Matteo Salvini, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister, criticised France and Germany over their handling of the European migrant crisis.

    He said both countries could no longer “decide migration policies and ignore the demands of the most-exposed countries like us and Malta,” adding that “Italy is no longer the refugee camp of Brussels, Paris, Berlin.

    “It is no longer willing to welcome all immigrants arriving in Europe. We intend to make ourselves respected. I explained it in Helsinki and now I have put it on paper to my French counterpart.”

    Fourteen other member countries of the European Union supported a new “solidarity mechanism” proposed by Germany and France to distribute migrants across the bloc, according to French President Emmanuel Macron. In addition to France and Germany, Finland, Luxemburg, Portugal, Lithuania, Croatia and Ireland are in favor the draft paper presented in Paris on how to handle NGOs picking up  migrants from Africa off the Libyan coast.

    But the French president himself reiterated and emphasized the fact that landings must take place at the nearest port, which is precisely the point disputed strongly by the Italian Interior Ministry.

    Reuters reported on Monday that EU Foreign affairs and Interior Ministers had gathered in Paris to discuss immigration and security issues following a meeting in Finland last week.

    “The conclusion of this morning’s meeting is that, in principle, 14 member states, at this stage, have expressed their agreement with the Franco-German document,” Macron said but he did not give any details of the plan. He only said the initiative would be “quick” and “automatic”.

    Salvini did not take part in the meeting. In a letter to his French counterpart Christophe Castaner, he warned against unilateral decisions “solely taken in Paris and Berlin”.

    Macron had pointed a finger at the chair of the absent Salvini. “I am sorry that someone has decided not to intervene. The only way to get results is through cooperation,” said Macron, who launched an appeal to take responsibility for migrants coming from Libya while repeatedly stressing that “the effectiveness of solidarity must be strengthened”.

    Salvini’s disagreement with Berlin hinges on remarks made by the Minister of the Interior, Horst Seehofer, who does not want to hear about migrant landings in other EU countries without applying the rule of the nearest safe port.

    Salvini reiterated his position on this issue: “The meeting on migrants organised in Paris was a mistake of form and substance. In the form, because it was convened with little notice and in an absolutely irregular way since we are in the Finnish presidency semester.”

    He added: “I repeat it today, after the French and German summit in Paris turned out to be a flop and was largely deserted by European Ministers: Italy has raised its head, does not take orders and does not act as a servant. If Macron wants to discuss immigrants, rather come to Rome”.

    The Italian position is shared by many EU capitals, above all on the need to “split the rules of search and rescue to prevent their abuses aimed at favoring illegal and uncontrolled immigration”.

    The objective of Salvini is, of course, to combat the activities of NGOs in the Mediterranean and to ensure that they “act in full compliance with the international legal framework and national legislation”.

    There was only one Italian technical delegation in Paris on Monday, commissioned by Salvini to “move exclusively within the defined perimeter, avoiding new and different declarations inconsistent with the work carried out so far”. This was decided in order to prevent Paris and Berlin from attempting a blitz to reaffirm Italy as the only EU landing port.

    NGO-run migrant rescue ships will be fined up to one million euros for defying a ban on entering Italian waters under a new League amendment to the government’s second security and migrants decree.

    These skippers will be arrested if they fail to obey the orders of police or navy ships, a second amendment read. Sea-Watch3 captain Carola Rackete was questioned in Agrigento on Thursday on suspicion of aiding illegal immigration and refusing to obey a navy ship.

    Leaving the prosecutor’s office she appealed for all countries to take in rescued migrants after defying Salvini’s closed ports policy to land 40 migrants at Lampedusa recently.

    Her arrest for purposely ignoring the ban as well as ramming a police boat was not upheld in a ruling that greatly angered Salvini supporters. Rackete has meanwhile returned to Germany, a spokesman for the German migrant rescue NGO said on Friday.

    Rackete, 31, left Italy immediately after being questioned by Agrigento prosecutors in a probe into alleged favouring illegal immigration, according to Italian sources.

    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 violation​s​ 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 del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    Why is Lombardy the epicentre of the Corona crisis?

    MilanThe region of Lombardy has involuntarily found itself to be the epicenter of the Italian epidemic and is paying the price: 9 202 deaths since the beginning of the infection and over 51 000 cases.

    Epidemiologist rips ‘increasingly burdensome verification’

    MarseilleIn an interview with a French newspaper, the director of the Marseille University Hospital Institute (IHU), Professor Didier Raoult, defended the effectiveness of chloroquine and said further studies on the drug were just a waste of time.

    Nine major European hospitals now require assistance

    "We will soon be short of important drugs" in the fight against the new Coronavirus, Europe's largest hospital warned in a letter to its respective governments.

    Spain announces highest daily increase in Covid-19 deaths

    MadridSpain's health ministry has announced 838 Covid-19 deaths, the country's highest daily increase in fatalities, bringing the total to 6 528.

    Putin bravely dons hazmat suit to visit Covid-19 patients in Moscow

    MoscowPresident Vladimir Putin donned a yellow hazmat suit to explain to the public the emergency measures taken by the Russian government.

    Italian infections on the rise again despite curfews

    RomeAfter a few days of decline, the number of new cases in Italy have increased again. Wednesday's rise in the number of dead were 683, while on Tuesday the rise was 743. The number of confirmed cases in the US has however surpassed China and Italy to become the largest outbreak in the world.

    How the East fights against the Coronavirus

    MoscowEurope currently appears to be drowning in chaos and dysfunction when it comes to the fight against the Coronavirus. But how is Russia handling the challenge right now?

    Italy faces new emergency as it runs out of disinfectants

    RomeIt will no longer be possible to disinfect hospitals, ambulances, public transport and schools. The League has urged the EU to step in. "The government and Europe must intervene as soon as possible."

    Immigrants revolt against confinement in France, Germany

    ParisWhile drastic containment measures came into effect on March 17 at noon in France, carelessness and incivility persist in the immigrant districts of Paris. The police dispatched on the spot are exasperated with the inhabitants.

    Famous virologist explains risky ‘logic’ of herd immunity

    A virologist twice nominated for the Nobel Prize explains the British strategy of "herd immunity" claiming it may have a logical explanation, but is still too risky.

    Go to archive