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Rescue of migrants (archives) - Photo by Ansa FotoRescue of migrants (archives) – Photo by Ansa Foto

Migrants and NGOs are one of the Meloni government’s priority issues, after the diplomatic clash with France over the story of the Ocean Viking ship. The Italian executive asks Europe to strengthen non-governmental organizations, as well as a relocation mechanism that leaves less room for voluntary action by Member States.

Pressure on NGOs: what they risk

Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi’s plan is to strengthen bilateral agreements for flows and repatriations. If NGOs do not sign and abide by a code of conduct to enter Italian waters, they will face kidnappings and penalties. Let’s see what the new rules might be.

NGOs arriving in Italian ports will have to prove that they have rescued boats in danger of sinking, or in serious and proven danger. Otherwise, they will be refused disembarkation and, if the vessel violates the prohibition, will face an administrative sanction which may go as far as the seizure of the vessel.

Minister Piantedosi will report to Parliament on Wednesday on the diplomatic clash with France and awaits confirmation of the government’s desire to proceed on two levels: bilateral agreements with the countries of origin of migrants and the code for private ships.

Rome’s version is that no ban had been issued for the Ocean Viking ship, while it was the NGO that decided to go to France, having received no response to the request for safe harbor .

Migrants: security decrees

In addition to proceeding in this direction with the NGOs, the Meloni government intends to start from the security decrees signed four years ago by the Minister of the Interior at the time, Matteo Salvini, with the current head of the Ministry of ‘Interior, Matteo Piantedosi, who was then the Head of Toilets.

Fines for NGOs could reach up to one million euros with the seizure of the vessel. Law 77 of August 2019 also provided for confiscation “in case of violation of the prohibition of entry, transit or stay in Italian territorial waters”.

Moving Notice

Another point is the revision of the agreements on the relocation of asylum seekers. At the extraordinary summit of EU interior ministers convened by the European Commission later this month, the government will ask for a plan for Africa and a formal commitment to support migrant-sending states with development projects, including economic contributions and tools to strengthen the internal borders of Libya and Tunisia.

Italy will also aim to reactivate these bilateral agreements with countries such as Morocco, Niger and Nigeria to guarantee regular flows in the Mediterranean and the repatriation of those who do not meet the conditions. The idea is to use Team Europe, the European project created during the pandemic.

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