Classifieds | Archives | Jobs | About TGT | Contact | Subscribe
Last updated 2 minutes ago
Printer Friendly Version | TGT@Twitter | RSS Feed |
Italy demands EU open ports to migrant ships
August 31, 2018
 Print    Send to Friend

VIENNA: Italy demanded on Thursday the EU find other ports to disembark migrants rescued in the Mediterranean, suggesting it would withhold support for the EU naval mission against people-smuggling unless other countries take in survivors.

Italy became the main route into Europe for hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers arriving by sea since the other main route from Turkey to Greece was largely shut in 2016. While numbers have dropped over the past year, a new populist Italian government has made shutting down the route a pillar of policy.

It forced the port issue on Thursday onto a meeting of EU defence ministers, who need Italian support for their naval mission, known as Sofia, which expires in four months and now brings all migrants it rescues to Italy.

“It’s no longer possible that Italy be the only port of disembarkation and that it take in all the migrants rescued at sea,” Italian Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta said in Vienna after the meeting with her 27 counterparts.

The Italian demand follows diplomatic rows in which rescue ships were not allowed to dock in Italy unless other states agreed to take in the migrants on board.

“Some (EU governments) said we should change the Sophia mission when its mandate ends.... We think it’s too long to wait and should be done immediately,” said Trenta, who said she had been in talks with France and Spain.

Speaking in Venice on Thursday, Italy’s anti-immigrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini also hinted at an end to the EU mission, saying that if EU partners do not agree to offer ports “then we’ll go it alone”.

No country offered ports at the Vienna defence ministers’ meeting as an alternative to Italy for Sophia, although EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said she expected talks to continue.

“Today was not a matter of pledging ports,” said Mogherini, who chaired the meeting, saying there was a political will to find a solution and that other options existed, such as sending a larger number of those who arrive in Italy to other EU states.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi said he would insist on the migration issue at a meeting with his counterparts, also in Vienna on Thursday, saying governments had to live up to European values on human rights and unity.


Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Post a comment
Related Stories
Italy government adopts tough anti-migrant bill
ROME: The Italian government on Monday adopted a heavily-criticised security decree which will make it easier to expel migrants and strip them of Italian citizenship. ..
Italy threatens to cut UN funds over migrants issue
ROME: Italy sharply criticised new UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday after she announced she would send investigators to the country to check reports of ..
Italian minister faces probe over migrants’ treatment
ROME: Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Friday launched a blistering attack on prosecutors in Sicily after they confirmed a probe into his refusal to ..
Italy to ask EU to rotate ports for migrant arrivals
ROME: Rome will on Thursday ask the European Union to rotate the ports where migrants rescued at sea disembark, with France and Spain top of the list, a defence ministry ..
Italy allows in migrants after reaching deal
ROME: Nearly 140 migrants who had been stranded on a boat at a port in Sicily were allowed to disembark early on Sunday after Ireland and Albania agreed to take some of t..
Advertise | Copyright