Italy assigns a safe haven to Ocean Viking, migrants to Lampedusa
Pd exults. Mayor: welcoming but not stupid. Salvini: it is surrender
- Italy assigns a safe port to the Ocean Viking ship: it is Lampedusa
- Germany and France will welcome 50% of migrants landed in Italy
- Migrants, Palazzo Chigi: ok to redistribution in the EU for Ocean Viking
- Safe harbor for Ocean Viking, still no response from Italy and Malta
- Zingaretti: "The Ocean Viking must land without ifs and buts"
ShareSeptember 14, 2019After 14 months of closed ports, Italy assigns for the first time to a ship of the NGOs a safe haven to accommodate migrants rescued in front of Libya: the 82 people from a week aboard the Ocean Viking will land in Lampedusa in the evening and they should then be redistributed in the European countries that have said they are willing to accept them.
The government's decision therefore seems to put an end to the policy of bans and war on the ships of humanitarian organizations by Matteo Salvini, which in fact attacks the new Pd-M5s executive: "Here they are, ports open without limits - says the former minister of the Interior - these are crazy, it is a surrender to those who want to make Italy the field
refugees from Europe ".
In reality the question is far from resolved and it is not certain that when the next ship will appear in front of the Italian coasts - the same Ocean Viking has already made it known that it will immediately return to the Sar area - the choices will be identical, because among the same government allies positions are still far apart. To the Democratic Party that rejoices, with Dario Franceschini who speaks of "the end of Salvini's propaganda on the skin of the desperate at sea", replies Luigi Di Maio. "There is a great misunderstanding about the fact that a safe harbor has been assigned to Ocean Viking - the Foreign Minister points out - for the simple reason that we have assigned it only because Europe has decided to adhere to our request to take great part of those migrants ". In other words: without agreement the migrants would have remained at sea.
And the agreement with European countries is still to be defined. Because it is not clear which 'willing' people are willing to take their share of Ocean Viking migrants and it is not yet clear, above all, what are the requirements to redistribute people, not just those of the Sos Mediterranee and MSF ship but all those who will be rescued in the central Mediterranean in the future. Germany and France, in essence, will welcome only asylum seekers, as always supported in the past, or all migrants and therefore also economic ones, which instead for Paris and Berlin should remain in the centers of the countries of first arrival pending repatriation? A matter of no small importance given that the two countries said they were ready to accept a share of 25% each. Issues that, most likely, will not find an answer before the summit of September 23 in Valletta when Malta, Italy, France and Germany will try to find the political agreement to implement that "temporary mechanism" that allows to automatically redistribute migrants in the countries available without having to resort to new agreements each time. The go-ahead for landing arrives early in the morning and is welcomed on the ship by a long applause of migrants.
But Ocean Viking will not enter Lampedusa, formally so as not to limit the operation of the port itself and of the island's airport: the 82 on board will be transferred to the Coast Guard and Guardia di Finanza patrol boats and then transferred to the hotspot of Contrada Imbriacola for identification procedures. A move that triggers the mayor of Lampedusa, Totò Martello. "Welcoming yes, stupid no. This decision makes no sense, those who decide should study the geography: the ship was closer to Porto Empedocle than to Lampedusa and in a few days the migrants will have to be transferred, using the ferry to Porto Empedocles, where they could have landed directly ".
Satisfaction comes instead from the NGOs. "Receiving the safe harbor is good news - says the coordinator of Sos Mediterranee Nicola Stalla - But having to wait from a few days to a few weeks is not acceptable. The EU creates an effective and predictable mechanism that guarantees safe havens to land people ". Also because, regardless of the NGO ships, the migrants continue to leave: 12 Tunisians arrived alone in Lampedusa on a small boat, ten on the islet of Lampione, while another 70 were rescued aboard a sailboat in front of Calabrian coasts. Which means two things: that the 'mother ships' are still operational and that the east route from the Balkans by sea to Italy is increasingly active.