News Worms
News Worms


Italy Threatens to Block Ships Carrying Migrants

Italy Threatens to Block Ships Carrying Migrants

About 72,000 migrants arrived in Italy on the perilous route from Libya between January 1 and June 21, roughly 20 percent more than in 2016, and more than 2,000 died on the way, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Italy may start denying access to foreign vessels bringing rescued migrants to its shores, government sources told Italian news agency ANSA on Wednesday.

Rome's EU ambassador, Maurizio Massari, met EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and told him that "the situation we are facing is serious and Europe can not turn its back", an Italian government source said.

The dramatic move comes after almost 11,000 asylum-seekers and economic migrants, mainly from African nations, arrived on Italian shores in a four-day period from war-wracked Libya.

If Italy goes ahead with its threat, EU Frontex operations would not be up for discussion since they are governed by global law.

One of the charities operating rescue boats, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), said on Thursday that it understood the pressure Italy was under and the need for more coordinated European action.

The record for migrants rescued on a single day stands at 7,000, plucked from their unseaworthy vessels on 29 August 2016. This figure shows an increase of 14% over last year's number.

Earlier this month, Breitbart London reported on the ousting at local elections in Italy of a mayor who had struck a deal with the Hungarian financier to turn the tiny island of Lampedusa into a gateway to Europe for migrants travelling from Africa.

Once they are in the water, she said, "the first imperative - and we don't see any exception - is to save lives".

Both Germany and France have said Italy, after the closure of the Turkey route, has been left alone to fend with the refugee crisis for too long. And even the maverick radical Five Star Movement is moving to a more anti-immigrant position, calling for a halt to any new migrants being lodged in Rome. Italy has been at the forefront of the European Union's efforts to cope with the historic levels of migration in recent years.

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