The ship Open Arms , which carries 151 migrants and flying the Spanish flag, being owned by the Catalan NGO Pro Activa, puts the Spanish authorities in a terrible embarrassment. So far 12 sick people have been able to reach Malta or Italy ports on a humanitarian basis. But Madrid rejected the possibility of welcoming 31 miners from the Open Arms .
With our correspondent in Madrid, François Musseau
The Socialists who run Spain say that Captain Marc Reig, who heads the O pen Arms , has no " legal capacity " to request or require the reception of minors in a national port. These are the words of José Luis Abalos, right arm of the head of government Pedro Sanchez and Minister of Infrastructure. Words that reflect the great fragility of the Spanish executive, pending the formation of a government after the legislative elections in late April. Words that also reflect great discomfort.
Last year, in June, we remember that the same socialist Pedro Sanchez had accepted the landing in the port of Valencia of the 630 migrants of the ship Aquarius , chartered by NGOs Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranean. He had done it " for humanitarian reasons " in the face of Italy's denial, and in order to force a joint decision at the level of the European Union.
As this common strategy has not yet been defined, the Spanish Socialists believe that they have no reason to welcome migrants fished at sea. And that now the ball is in the camp of Brussels . Still, the pressure is increasing on Madrid, because Open Arms , which carries the 151 migrants, is of Spanish nationality.