Italy closes its ports to hundreds of refugees

The new Italian government is taking a harder line on migration policy and refusing safe port rescue ships carrying refugees. An exception was made for minors and vulnerable people, for example those rescued by the German ship Humanity 1, who were allowed to disembark. But all the other migrants should be taken care of by the states under whose flag the rescue ships sail, Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi insists. Can this problem be solved?

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Aargauer Zeitung (CH) /

A result of lacking solidarity

The Italian government's defensive attitude is to a certain extent understandable, the Aargauer Zeitung concedes:

“Even under Meloni's predecessor Mario Draghi, NGO ships sometimes had to wait a very long time to be assigned a port. ... Italy, which takes in by far the most boat refugees, can't understand why Germany, Norway, Spain and other European countries aren't at least willing to take in those refugees who are rescued by ships operating under their flags. If at least such a minimal degree of solidarity existed at the EU level, no ship would have to wait any longer to be assigned a port, not even under Meloni.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Not the way to solve the problem

The tactic of not letting the refugees disembark in order to up the pressure on Germany won't work, Corriere della Sera predicts:

“The German government is not changing its position and is sticking to its guns on the issue of the refugees who are still stranded in the port of Catania or off the coast of Sicily. ... Without the precondition that all refugees should be allowed ashore, there is currently no offer from the German side to take in new refugees from Italy. ... Sustainable progress can only be achieved within the framework of a reform of the common European asylum system, which 'ensures a balance between responsibility and solidarity'.”

Avvenire (IT) /

At the expense of the weakest

Avvenire condemns Meloni's migration policy:

“The refugee emergency is back on the political media front. The newly installed Meloni government has immediately resumed the war against Italy's European partners and NGOs, a pet issue of [Lega leader Matteo] Salvini. ... The new government is trying to assert its sovereigntist identity policy on issues it considers popular, easy to communicate, economically cost-effective and of high propaganda value. However, it is doing so at the expense of the weakest, who are being fobbed off with cynical and unscrupulous policies.”

Magyar Nemzet (HU) /

Europe wants order

The pro-government Magyar Nemzet sees immigration per se as a threat:

“Even though it has become clear that supporting migration poses a security risk, all Europe's liberal elites are bothered about is that deep down Meloni is probably a fascist. So it doesn't matter how many people die in terrorist attacks or how many cities are rendered uninhabitable by the activities of criminal gangs of foreign origin. ... Even a bad, weak and corrupt government is good if it presents liberal arguments. Clearly this won't work in the long run; Meloni's success is proof of this. ... Europe wants order instead of rainbow badges.”