Italy takes rescued migrants to Genoa, but says they can’t stay

The Italian navy were transporting 100 migrants to the northern port of Genoa Friday, a day after rescuing them, but officials there say they will not be able to stay.

Italy takes rescued migrants to Genoa, but says they can't stay
A file photo of a previous Italian navy operation to rescue migrants. Photo: AFP PHOTO / MARINA MILITARE

The patrol vessel Cigala Fulgosi came to the migrants' aid Thursday after the engine on their inflatable boat failed in worsening weather. Only a few of them had lifejackets.

It is the first time a marine vessel has been forced to take migrants it rescued in the southern Mediterranean, off the Italian island of Lampedusa, further north to land them there.

The decision came from the far-right, anti-migrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini who had regularly expressed his frustration at the actions of Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta.

Trenta, a member of coalition partners the Five Star Movement does not share Salvini's hard line on migrants.

While they will land in Genoa, Salvini said Friday: “No foreigner will stay in Liguria (the Genoa region) or at the expense of Italian tax-payers.”

Since he came to power a year ago, Salvini has often blocked the work of rescue boats in the Mediterranean and scaled back Italian navy patrols in the region.

The Cigala Fulgosi was at sea to provide security for oil platforms and fishing vessels off the coast of Libya.

READ ALSO: Italy takes in 150 refugees flown in from Libya

Member comments

  1. What needs to be remembered and always at the forefront of ANY discussion about UNDOCUMENTED DISPLACED PEOPLE, is that Italy was wholeheartedly behind Washingtons’ aggression since at least the invasion of Iraq then Libya.
    These displayed people are the logical consequence of the murderous policies of imperial Washington and junior partners like Italy. THE ITALIAN GOVERNMENT MUST BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS’ ACTIONS AND NOT TRY TO PLAY OFF THESE IMMIGRANTS AGAINST ITS OWN POPULATION WHICH ON ANY GIVEN DAY SUFFEFROM ITALY’S OWN CAPITALISM

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


How the EU aims to reform border-free Schengen area

European countries agreed on Thursday to push towards a long-stalled reform of the bloc's migration system, urging tighter control of external borders and better burden-sharing when it comes to asylum-seekers.

How the EU aims to reform border-free Schengen area
European interior ministers met in the northern French city of tourcoing, where president Emmanuel Macron gave a speech. Photo: Yoat Valat/AFP

The EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson, speaking after a meeting of European interior ministers, said she welcomed what she saw as new momentum on the issue.

In a reflection of the deep-rooted divisions on the issue, France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin – whose country holds the rotating EU presidency – said the process would be “gradual”, and welcomed what he said was unanimous backing.

EU countries backed a proposal from French President Emmanuel Macron to create a council guiding policy in the Schengen area, the passport-free zone used by most EU countries and some affiliated nations such as Switzerland and Norway.

Schengen council

Speaking before the meeting, Macron said the “Schengen Council” would evaluate how the area was working but would also take joint decisions and facilitate coordination in times of crisis.

“This council can become the face of a strong, protective Europe that is comfortable with controlling its borders and therefore its destiny,” he said.

The first meeting is scheduled to take place on March 3rd in Brussels.

A statement released after the meeting said: “On this occasion, they will establish a set of indicators allowing for real time evaluation of the situation at our borders, and, with an aim to be able to respond to any difficulty, will continue their discussions on implementing new tools for solidarity at the external borders.”

Step by step

The statement also confirmed EU countries agreed to take a step-by-step approach on plans for reforming the EU’s asylum rules.

“The ministers also discussed the issues of asylum and immigration,” it read.

“They expressed their support for the phased approach, step by step, put forward by the French Presidency to make headway on these complex negotiations.

“On this basis, the Council will work over the coming weeks to define a first step of the reform of the European immigration and asylum system, which will fully respect the balance between the requirements of responsibility and solidarity.”

A planned overhaul of EU migration policy has so far foundered on the refusal of countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to accept a sharing out of asylum-seekers across the bloc.

That forces countries on the EU’s outer southern rim – Italy, Greece, Malta and Spain – to take responsibility for handling irregular migrants, many of whom are intent on making their way to Europe’s wealthier northern nations.

France is pushing for member states to commit to reinforcing the EU’s external borders by recording the details of every foreign arrival and improving vetting procedures.

It also wants recalcitrant EU countries to financially help out the ones on the frontline of migration flows if they do not take in asylum-seekers themselves.

Johansson was critical of the fact that, last year, “45,000 irregular arrivals” were not entered into the common Eurodac database containing the fingerprints of migrants and asylum-seekers.

Earlier, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser suggested her country, France and others could form a “coalition of the willing” to take in asylum-seekers even if no bloc-wide agreement was struck to share them across member states.

She noted that Macron spoke of a dozen countries in that grouping, but added that was probably “very optimistic”.

Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, hailed what he said was “a less negative atmosphere” in Thursday’s meeting compared to previous talks.

But he cautioned that “we cannot let a few countries do their EU duty… while others look away”.

France is now working on reconciling positions with the aim of presenting propositions at a March 3rd meeting on European affairs.