Italy asks for EU help with migrant boat arrivals

Italy urges the EU to help find a solution to the rescue at sea of ​​migrants and refugees, a problem that has eluded and divided member states for years.

Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese on Wednesday (August 4th) called for an EU home affairs meeting on the issue, noting that more than 30,000 people have landed on its shores by boat so far this year.

The request also comes as NGO rescue ships Ocean Viking and SeaWatch 3 seek to disembark some 800 people, including women and children.

In a call with EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson on Wednesday, she said the issue “cannot be dealt with only by Italy and other countries whose borders coincide with the external borders of Italy. ‘EU’.

Italian media reports it wants a compulsory redistribution of migrants to other EU states – a demand that will likely be ignored given the deep political divisions between capitals over such demands.

It also calls on other EU states to temporarily open their ports to NGO rescue boats flying the European flag.

But the problem has already become a dead end, leaving those rescued by NGOs in precarious conditions.

In a tweet on Wednesday, the NGO SOS Mediterranean, which charters the Norwegian-flagged Ocean Viking, said it still had not received instructions on where to “disembark the 553 survivors to a place of safety. “.

Sea-Watch International, another NGO, made similar comments given the 257 people on their Sea Watch 3 boat.

“The state of health of our clients is deteriorating. Many are dehydrated and seasick,” they said, also on Wednesday.

Such dead ends seem designed to discourage NGOs. National authorities also tend to seize boats through lengthy administrative and technical inspections.

Among them, the Geo Barents, led by Médecins sans frontières (MSF), which had been forcibly moored for 24 days in a port in Sicily before being allowed to go to sea earlier this week.

The leader of the right-wing Italian League party Matteo Salvini has taken hold of the issue, demanding that Lamorgese act to stop the landings.

“The Prime Minister is aware that this rate of landings cannot be sustained,” he said of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

EU heads of state and government discussed migration at a summit in Brussels in June.

But their overall objective remained to prevent departures from taking place, increasing pressure on countries of origin and transit.

Among them is Libya, where Lamorgese is due to meet with his leaders. Italian lawmakers also renewed its funding for the Libyan coast guard over the summer.

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