Italy warned other EU members on its new hardline position regarding migrants. Mateo Salvini said that German NGO ships carrying migrants “will be seized” to determine their legal status, BBC reported.
Italy is keeping its migrants’ policy, the EU member has already sparked the fresh row earlier this month when it refused to take in the Aquarius rescue ship. Another two German NGO ships with the refugees on the board should be seized, said minister Salvini. The move comes as President Macron attacked the “leprosy” of anti-EU feeling, angering Italy’s new populist government.
Lifeline and Seesuchs ships belong to the German body Mission Lifeline. According to the NGO, Lifeline rescued 224 migrants off the coast of Libya on Thursday morning. Italy’s interior minister and leader of the right-wing League party, Matteo Salvini, said on Facebook the ship should “go to Holland”, as it was said to be flying under a Dutch flag, and should not dock in Italy.
However, the Dutch delegation to the EU later clarified in a tweet that the ships are not registered in the Netherlands, and not flying under its flag. To know the trut, Italy decided to seize these ships.
Migrant crisis is definitely not uniting the EU
Last week, Aquarius rescue ship that was carrying 630 migrants rescued off the North African coast, sailed to Spain after being turned away by both Italy and Malta. EU’s fatigue from migrant burden is getting harder, Italy felt it the first.
The new Italian government has already warned its EU partners it will not sign up to any EU plan unless it makes helping Italy a priority, while the Visegrad Group (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) said they will boycott the talks.
The UN refugee agency on Thursday said it was “shocked and saddened” by the recent drowning of 220 people off the coast of Libya, and called for urgent action.