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Migrants entering the EU. Photo supplied

Six countries open their arms to illegals from Spanish NGO ship

Good news for Matteo Salvini: the 147 migrants currently aboard the ship of a Spanish NGO will not be landing in Italy.

Published: August 16, 2019, 7:25 am

    Illegal migrants from the Proactiva Open Arms will not be heading to Italy. Pressured earlier this week by Malta and Italy, the NGO ship may finally find refuge in other European ports, said the head of the Italian government, Giuseppe Conte.

    The day after the suspension of a decree signed by the Italian Minister of the Interior by a regional justice, and the authorization given to the Open Arms waiting at the port of Lampedusa, the head of the Italian government Giuseppe Conte said six European Union countries were ready to receive the ship.

    French weekly L’Express reported on Thursday that “France, Germany, Romania, Portugal, Spain and Luxembourg” are ready to receive migrants. The Italian Prime Minister had sent an open letter to his colleague and president of the League, Matteo Salvini, urging him to take migrants.

    Earlier this week, the island of Malta and Italy announced their refusal to host the Open Arms, stuck in international waters with 147 migrants on board. But yesterday, on Wednesday, the Italian administrative justice had finally obtained the suspension of a Security Decree signed Matteo Salvini, preventing the ship from entering the Italian territorial waters.

    “We won the appeal […] against the Salvini Security Decree,” said Oscar Camps, the founder of the NGO Proactiva Open Arms, at a press conference. to Madrid. Italian justice had indeed pronounced “for the landing” in Italy of the 147 migrants currently on board, rescued in the central Mediterranean. “The only thing missing is that we are assigned a port,” Oscar Camps added, saying that his NGO intended to respect legal procedures.

    At the beginning of August, the Italian Minister of the Interior and boss of the League had signed a decree forbidding the humanitarian ship to enter the Italian territorial waters, for reasons of public order according to him.

    By not complying, the NGO could face a fine of up to one million euros and the confiscation of the Open Arms. It was however finally a regional court that had the last word. “It’s a success: international maritime law prevails,” Oscar Camps said, relieved that “in Italy, not everyone thinks like Salvini”. The humanitarian ship will now head for the island of Lampedusa, the gateway for many migrants to the European Union.

    Salvini signed a new decree to block the passage of the Open Arms, but the Italian Defense Minister refused to sign this on Thursday morning.

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