Salvini To The Netherlands: No Space For Migrants In Italy

Italy's Northern League party's leader Matteo Salvini delivers a speech during his electoral tour at San Lazzaro di Savena (Bo), 3 February 2018. ANSA / GIORGIO BENVENUTI

Italy’s Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini announced recently that Rome had sent a letter to the Netherlands, telling the government to deal with the case of a ship run by the Sea-Watch NGO with 47 rescued migrants aboard:

“Fifteen minutes ago I sent a letter to the Dutch government in which it is officially and formally tasked with dealing with this vessel, which flies the Dutch flag, and of the passengers on board.”

The ship was allowed to enter Italian sea waters due to bad weather.  The city of Naples said that they are willing to allow the Sea-watch ship to dock at their ports. 

However, Salvini countered the move and reiterated his policy of refusing access to Italy’s ports to NGO-run migrant-rescue ships.

“I can’t wait to have them arrive, safe and sound, in another European country,” Salvini said. “There’s no space (for them) in Italy.”

Meanwhile, De Telegraaf reported that the Netherlands has rejected Italy’s demand to take in the migrants from the NGO rescue ship Sea-Watch 3.

Dutch Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Mark Harbers, issued the following statement to De Telegraaf:

“Until there are European accords on structural solutions for the migrants on board the (migrant smuggler) boats, the Netherlands will not take part in ad hoc solutions.”

Harbers added that “the Netherlands has noted the Italian request, but is not responsible for the Sea-Watch 3”.

Italian Interior Ministry sources revealed that they are in the process of gathering evidence to criminally charge the Sea-Watch 3 crew for engaging in covert immigration.

Also, the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) aired out their concern about the effects of Italy’s new migration-and-security decree.

The body claims that the legislation, drafted by Salvini, could adversely affect the identification process of trafficking victims and provision of shelter for unaccompanied minors.

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