Sunday, September 24, 2023
Italy has expressed concerns about Germany's decision to financially support migrant charity organisations operating in the Mediterranean.
Defence Minister Guido Crosetto said that this move by Germany is causing difficulties for Italy as it attempts to implement stricter measures to reduce the influx of sea arrivals.
A spokesperson for the German Foreign Ministry confirmed that Berlin is implementing a parliamentary financial support program for both civilian sea rescue operations and land-based projects.
The spokesperson mentioned that they have already reviewed several funding applications, with each project receiving between 400,000 and 800,000 euros.
Guido Crosetto, speaking to La Stampa, characterised Germany's actions as "very serious" and emphasised that the Italian government's primary focus is combating human smugglers, whom they consider international criminals.
Crosetto, a senior member of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy party, criticised Berlin for potentially causing difficulties for a country that should be a friend.
Germany's Foreign Ministry defended its decision by stating that rescuing people at sea is a "legal, humanitarian, and moral duty."
Recent data from Italy's interior ministry reveals a significant increase in sea arrivals, with over 132,000 migrants reaching Italy by boat this year, compared to approximately 69,000 during the same period in 2022.
Additionally, the charity SOS Humanity announced that it would receive around 790,000 euros in funding from the German government.
In response to the growing number of migrants, Italy, known for its strict stance on illegal immigration, plans to expand the number of detention centres for migrants awaiting possible repatriation. The government also intends to prolong the duration of detention.
Furthermore, Italy has decided to require migrants to make payments to avoid detention while their requests for protection are being processed, a move that has drawn strong criticism from human rights organisations.