“There will be new procedures for sure.”
Italian Government Indicates Measures Against Marine Rescuers
After a recent escalation in the row over the admission of migrants, the Italian government is threatening civilian marine rescuers.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni meets with the media during a press conference at Palazzo Chigi in Rome. Photo: Roberto Monaldo/La Presse/D
“There will certainly be new measures,” Prime Minister Georgia Meloni said on Friday. She was asked at a press conference if Italy was planning to take measures and, for example, wanted to arrest ships of international organizations that did not comply with Italian rules. The right-wing politician did not specifically address this matter and did not give any details.
Earlier this week, the new government initially banned two organizations – the German humanitarian organization SOS and Doctors Without Borders – from allowing all rescued migrants to disembark from their ships in the port of Catania. This only happened when the Ministry of Health sent the remaining men on board the ships for medical reasons. Meloni recently described the procedure as “strange”. A SOS Méditerranée ship, the “Ocean Viking”, was not allowed into Italian waters and was sent to France. This caused a diplomatic dispute between Rome and Paris.
International marine lifeguards have for years been complaining about being put back to Italy over and over again and, in their view, often have to wait unnecessarily long for a port to be allocated by the authorities. NGOs reported harassment, including at times detaining ships for flimsy reasons and after random searches. The European Court of Justice had banned the baseless controls in early August.
Critics accuse foreign organizations of promoting the crossing on the dangerous Mediterranean route and of aiding smugglers through their work.
Meloni wants to completely prevent refugees and migrants from making their way from North Africa to southern Italy. It wants a naval blockade and, above all, a European solution to the problem. I recently spoke about this with French President Emmanuel Macron, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
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