Meloni asks Scholz to explain funding for NGO rescue ships – EURACTIV.fr

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Germany must explain its funding of NGO rescue ships, which the European border agency Frontex says constitute a “pull factor” for irregular immigration, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia wrote in a letter to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The Italian government is unhappy with the way the European Union is handling the current migration crisis, which has seen Lampedusa overwhelmed with migrants in recent weeks.

While Italy has already criticized the EU, and in particular France and Germany, for not accepting migrants who arrived irregularly in Italy, Meloni is now calling on Germany to finance NGO ships operating in the Mediterranean .

In his letter, Meloni asks Scholz for an explanation and rhetorically suggests that the chancellor examine whether the reception of people fleeing Africa “should not be facilitated on German territory rather than in Italy.”

“I learned with amazement that your government – in a manner not coordinated with the Italian government – would have decided to support with substantial funds non-governmental organizations engaged in welcoming irregular migrants on Italian territory and in rescues at sea Mediterranean”, Meloni old Scholz in the letter, noting that both activities “raise questions”.

Italy is currently facing exceptional migratory pressures: thousands of migrants have crowded into the first reception center on the island of Lampedusa and an equally high number are transferred to reception centers scattered throughout the country, even if Italy’s neighbors have closed their borders.

As early as 2022, Frontex described migrant rescue ships controlled by NGOs as providing more incentive for migrant crossings, otherwise known as a “pull factor”, particularly from Tunisia and Libya,

For Meloni, EU countries that want to make a concrete commitment to the emergency situation, “including financially”, should focus on “the search for structural solutions to the migratory phenomenon” by cooperating with transit countries. from the southern shore of the Mediterranean. For example, with deals that Meloni said would cost less than the EU-Turkey deal.

Similar sentiments towards Germany were echoed by Defense Minister Guido Crosetto (Fratelli d’Italia/ECR), who accused Germany of not being friendly towards Italy and called for a change of approach at European level on the migration issue.

“Germany is not a friendly country. He has an ideological approach and puts us in difficulty,” Crosetto said in an interview with La Stamparegretting that “Berlin pays the NGOs”.

As for Paris, Crosettos said it “blocks the borders and no one says anything.” “Europe often adopts bad strategies,” he added.

“Faced with our request for help, what is their response? We did not act in the same way when Angela Merkel convinced the EU to invest billions of euros in Turkey to prevent the arrival of Middle Eastern migrants in Germany,” the minister added.

The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for its part, recalled through a spokesperson that the financing of NGOs has been known for a long time and is provided for by a decision of the Bundestag, with the aim of “facilitating the rescue of civilians at sea as well as land projects for rescued people.” people”.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani (Forza Italia/PPE) will travel to Berlin on Thursday to meet his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, while Meloni and Scholz will meet at the next EU Council on October 5-6 in Granada – the opportunity to “discuss” in person” and “better clarify the exact contours of these initiatives of your (Scholz’s) government,” Meloni said in his letter.

(Federica Pascale | Euractiv.it)

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