Italy turns away another rescue boat carrying 200 migrants

28 June, 2018, 05:47 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Danish Maersk Line ship rescues 113 migrants in southern Italy

"Can't be that country that would greatly benefit from the solidarity of the EU, EN masse has stated on national egoism when it concerns the topic of migration", - said the French President.

The leaders of about 16 countries - more than half the 28-nation bloc - will take part in what is being billed as "informal talks" in Brussels, ahead of a full European Union summit on June 28-29, where migration will top the agenda. Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia announced a boycott of the meeting.

CDU general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said the CDU had agreed it was necessary to control and reduce migration to avoid a repeat of the 2015 situation, when hundreds of thousands of migrants arrived in Germany, but declined to speculate on what would happen if the CSU rejected Ms Merkel's proposals at a meeting next Sunday.

There, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to achieve bilateral agreements with European partners to solve the problem of admission of refugees already registered in other EU countries.

Merkel, who is scrambling to prevent a mutiny in her government over migration, admitted there were still "some differences" but also "a great deal of common ground".

But he has angered the new government of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte who accuses him of playing down the scale of the problem in Italy, the main European landing point for African migrants.

And a private cargo ship, the Alexander Maersk, has been waiting to be assigned a port since it picked up 113 migrants off southern Italy on Friday, the ship owner said.

"The immigration emergency continues in Italy, partly because France keeps pushing back people at the border", Italian deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio shot back on his Facebook page, warning Macron risked turning France into "Italy's number one enemy" on the issue. She also suggested focusing on stemming the flow of asylum seekers to countries through which they travel to the EU - Libya, for example.

Merkel came under pressure last week when her interior minister Horst Seehofer threatened to unilaterally implement an immigration "master plan" the chancellor is opposed to.

Mr Seehofer has vowed to use his law-enforcement powers to send back certain asylum seekers at Germany's borders if Ms Merkel doesn't reach agreements with European Union partners this month.


Malta and Italy have both refused to take in Lifeline, which is carrying more than 200 rescued migrants.

The EU struck a cash-for-repatriation deal with Turkey in March 2016 and engaged Lybian coast guard in cracking down on migrant trafficking, following the peak year of 2015 which saw more than one million irregular migrants flocking to Europe via different routes.

The centers would be created in accordance with guidelines from the UN's refugee agency UNHCR, Macron said.

The German NGO Mission Lifeline that operates the MV Lifeline ship called for a swift resolution at the European Union summit.

Even then, Germany is still home to the majority of Europe's refugees.

Late Friday and into Saturday morning, Spanish authorities rescued 569 migrants, thought to be mainly from North Africa, after they crossed the Mediterranean in leaky dinghies, a makeshift wooden raft, and a canoe.

Migrants on a rubber boat being rescued by the Lifeline ship in the Mediterranean.

Currently, frontline Mediterranean states, notably Italy and Greece, are grappling with the bulk of new arrivals, and asylum demands skewed toward western Mediterranean and richer northern European states.

"We understand there are domestic political difficulties in some countries but that can not lead to pan-European haste", Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in an apparent dig at Merkel. Failing that, he vowed to turn back migrants at the border, which means many will likely have to return to Italy under the so-called Dublin regulations.

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