Salvini blocks ship carrying refugees

Only after the intervention of Italian President Sergio Mattarella has Interior Minister Matteo Salvini allowed 67 refugees who had been rescued by the Italian coast guard to set foot on Italian soil. Salvini had initially blocked the ship's access to a port in Sicily and then prevented the men on board from leaving the vessel. What is Salvini trying to achieve?

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La Repubblica (IT) /

A ridiculous figure but highly dangerous

The rule of law is still stronger than Salvini, but the danger of arbitrary arrests as experienced under fascism has not been averted, La Repubblica warns:

“Matteo Salvini casts himself as a kind of superman, and tries to come across as a tough guy on Twitter. ... Of course you can laugh at the captain (as his supporters call him), who challenges the rule of Merkel's Germany one day and calls Macron a plutocrat the next. Unfortunately the world is full of racists, but although Salvini is ridiculous, he's more dangerous than others. Because he is responding to the Italian right's desire for a strong man. With sincere passion he is targeting the poor, the shipwrecked, the blacks, the Muslims, the gays, the beggars, the Roma. ... He wants to handcuff them all.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Legality is a loose concept

Author Julya Rabinovich voices concern in Der Standard that criminalising the saving of people's lives has become acceptable once more in Europe:

“At some point we must ask how things could come to this. Again. And also ask how it is once again possible that people who save other people's lives are treated like suspects in Europe. Ask why authorities were able to prevent rescue ships from docking at ports, thus exposing refugees to deadly danger on a daily basis, and yet they still claim that this was all completely legitimate. ... Those who hid Anne Frank and her family were also committing a criminal offence and breaking the law back then. And those who killed Anne Frank were acting within the law. Legality is a loose concept. But dying is definitive.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Pseudo crisis is just a pretext

Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian prime minister and currently a liberal MEP, speculates in Le Monde on Salvini's objectives:

“His methods are reminiscent of piracy yet they are less hypocritical than those of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. They are pursuing the same objective, however: that of their Hungarian accomplice and mentor Viktor Orbán and his comrades like Marine Le Pen: destroying the EU. We must not let ourselves be deceived! This pseudo crisis is a political and ideological fight against the European project. ... If there is one thing that must distinguish us from the populists, it's certainly humanism: the humanism that inspired the founding fathers of the Union, who confronted the scourge of nationalism and populism in its very worst form and never gave up.”

Mozgástér (HU) /

Italy's interior minister shows the way

Political scientist Zoltán Kiszelly believes the ships for rescuing refugees are being financed by Hungarian-American investor George Soros. Arresting the crews of these vessels is the right course of action, he writes in the conservative blog Mozgástér:

“The true solution has been demonstrated by Matteo Salvini, the Italian foreign minister, and the government of Malta. They either don't let Soros's ships into their ports, or they immediately arrest the crews on suspicion of human trafficking. These images show the millions of people seeking a better life in Europe that it's not worth it to set out on the perilous journey. Because rather than being allowed to disembark from Soros's ships, they'll be brought back to Africa.”