A number of European nations have agreed to take in more than 100 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean last week. Italy had refused to allow the migrants on the coast guard vessel Gregoretti to disembark, and the ship had remained in the port of Augusta for days awaiting a decision.
The latest standoff involving Italy not allowing migrants to disembark in its ports after they have been rescued at sea has come to an end. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini agreed to the disembarkation of the 100 migrants still on board the Gregoretti vessel of the Italian coast guard after his conditions were met. Only minors and those who needed urgent health attention had been allowed to disembark earlier.
Salvini had made it very clear that until an agreement was reached for the redistribution of migrants at an EU level, they would not be allowed off the ship, which remained docked in the Sicilian port of Augusta for five days.
Salvini said the problem was been resolved, as five European nations — Germany, Portugal, France, Luxembourg and Ireland, in addition to some facilities belonging to Italian bishops, will take in the 116 migrants on board this ship.
Salvini has long been saying that Europe cannot continue to ignore the problem of the constant flow of migrants arriving on Italian shores as they attempt to cross over from Libya. Many Italians agree with Salvini that Rome alone cannot be the only one dealing with the problem.
Addressing Italians on social media, Salvini constantly reiterates the seriousness and rigor of his government’s closed ports policy for those arriving in Italy illegally.
A number of EU states have criticized the Italian government’s behavior with regards to the rescue of migrants, arguing they cannot be left to drown in the Mediterranean Sea. But Salvini has made clear he will not budge. And as soon as the Gregoretti standoff ended, another appeared on the horizon.
The German Sea-Eye NGO rescue vessel Alan Kurdi was on its way Thursday to the southern Italian island of Lampedusa with 40 migrants it rescued from an overcrowded dinghy. Among those on board is a pregnant woman, three small children, a man with a gunshot wound, and two people who survived the bombing of the Tajoura detention camp in Libya three weeks ago.
Salvini calls these rescues by NGO vessels “provocations” and has already signed an order banning the vessel from entering Italian waters.