The Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has criticized the intransigence of the migration policy of Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. Salvini concentrates compulsively on the topic and reduce it to the formula "closed harbors" to win as a politician to approval. "If we really want to protect our 'national interests', we can not confine ourselves to advocating positions of absolute intransigence," Conte wrote in the letter published on Facebook.
As Conte further writes, six European countries are prepared to accept the remaining migrants on the ship: France, Germany, Romania, Portugal, Spain and Luxembourg. A spokesman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior said on request that the federal government would not shut down a solution and was in discussion with the European Commission.
Surprisingly clear words from Conte
The background for the surprisingly clear words of the non-party prime minister is that a week ago, Salvini had the governing coalition with the populist five-star movement burst. Italy's Minister of Defense Elisabetta Trenta is also among the five stars - she is refusing to sign a new order that Salvini wants to keep the Open Arms away from Italian waters despite the current court decision.
She had made her decision on the basis of "solid legal grounds" and listened to her conscience, said the Minister. "We must never forget that all the polemics of the past few days are about children and adolescents who have suffered violence and abuse, and politics must never lose sight of humanity."
An EU Commission spokesman said the Brussels authority was in contact with the member states. The Spanish newspaper El País wrote that the Spanish government had always stressed that the pressure on the country was already high enough because of the migrants arriving to Spain's shores. But because of the precarious situation aboard the Open Arms have now changed the opinion.
"We have land in sight"
The rescue vessel Open Arms had previously arrived with 147 migrants on board in the Italian waters off Lampedusa - although Salvini had previously prohibited the ship's entrance. An administrative court in Rome authorized the entry into Italian territorial waters because of the "extremely serious situation".
"We have land in sight," tweeted the Spanish aid organization Proactiva Open Arms when the ship was in the immediate vicinity of the island of Lampedusa. So far, the crew did not know in which port the Open Arms could enter, but calm the view of the nearby mainland, the refugees on board.
According to the news agency Ansa, the Open Arms was escorted by two ships of the military. The Spanish television showed pictures of the people lying exhausted at high tide at the bottom of the deck. Among them are many minors. Many have been waiting for two weeks on the ship, the rest have been on board since their rescue almost a week ago. At times, 160 migrants were aboard the Open Arms. Some of them were taken to Malta and Italy early for health reasons.
In addition to Italy, Malta had denied the Open Arms the entry into a port. The Mediterranean neighbors demand that other EU states provide advance assurances of migrants. Currently Ocean Viking is also looking for a port for aid organizations SOS Méditerranée and MSF with 356 rescued migrants aboard. The ship is in international waters and was on Wednesday south between the Italian island of Linosa and Malta. According to the Mariners, many migrants are seasick due to bad weather conditions.