Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Economy | By

Boat carrying over 900 migrants docks in Italy

Boat carrying over 900 migrants docks in Italy

He has repeatedly accused charities of working with human traffickers but said Italy would not stop rescuing migrant boats itself.

Italy's economy minister, Giovanni Tria, also cancelled a meeting with his counterpart in Paris, a day after French President Emmanuel Macron said Rome had acted with "cynicism and irresponsibility" by closing its ports to migrants.

Italy's foreign minister summoned the French ambassador to Rome in an escalating row over the Italian government's decision to block access for a migrant rescue ship.

The migrants aboard the Aquarius, run by French NGO SOS Mediterranee, were stuck on the overloaded ship as Italy and Malta bickered over who should take them.

"The Italian government has never abandoned the nearly 700 people aboard the Aquarius", it said in a statement on Tuesday. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll saying it was "fully aware of the burden that the migration pressure is placing on Italy" and that it was committed to cooperating with Rome on immigration.

United Nations refugee chief Filippo Grandi urged the European Union on Wednesday to sort out its "shameful" refugee policy after both Italy and Malta turned away a ship carrying hundreds of migrants.

More than 1.8 million migrants have entered Europe since 2014.

"Europe must stick together", she said, acknowledging Italy's concern that it had taken in many migrants but fellow European Union countries were not showing sufficient solidarity.


"Spain wants to report us, France says I'm "nauseating".

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz hailed Wednesday an "axis of the willing" between the hardline interior ministers of Austria, Germany and Italy to combat illegal immigration into the EU.

Salvini has repeatedly vowed to stem the flow of migrants to Italy, which has seen more than 700,000 arrive on its shores since 2013.

The case touched on one of the main faultlines in European politics - how to share the responsibility of handling migrants trying to get into the bloc from war zones and poor countries, largely across Africa and the Middle East.

Luigi Di Maio, leader of the Five Star Movement (M5S) that makes up Italy's new government alongside the League, minister of labour and, with Salvini, joint deputy prime minister, said that it was "embarrassing" that France "preached to us" as Italy is asking its European partners to share duties with Italy.

He demanded that France move from "words to action and offer a sign of generosity" by taking more in.

They were saved during several rescue operations off the coast of Libya.

Meanwhile, an Italian coastguard ship carrying more than 900 migrants was allowed to dock in Sicily on Wednesday. "The coastguard and navy can continue to save lives, but other countries need to keep giving us a hand", he said.

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