The European Commission has slammed Italian efforts to clamp down on open borders NGOs ferrying people to Europe as “deplorable”, insisting the nation should prioritise ‘helping migrants’.
Brussels’ appeal came amidst a three-day standoff which saw people “stranded” at sea for three days while activists complained that authorities in Italy were preventing them from delivering migrants to Europe.
While it eventually gave permission to the boat of 105 migrants to dock on Tuesday night, the Italian government had previously issued a statement saying the Libyan coast guard had assumed coordination of the rescue, but that Proactiva Open Borders had proceeded autonomously with the rescue “considering the situation to be critical.”
Italy Seizes German NGO Boat for ‘Clandestine Immigration’ and Contacting People Smugglers
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 3, 2017
The Spanish NGO, which is devoted almost entirely to ferrying people from the third world to Europe, said Libya was not a safe place to send the migrants, who reportedly hail from countries including Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco, Bangladesh, Ghana, Pakistan, Sudan, Libya, Eritrea and Senegal.
Responding to the stand-off, Commission spokesman Natasha Bertaud told Italy that “the priority is to help migrants’”, stating: ‘”It is with this spirit that we launch an appeal, both to Italian and British authorities, for a quick solution so that migrants can land safely as soon as possible’.”
“European ships, including Italian ones, act in the full respect of international law and according to the principle of non-rejections: they never take migrants back to Libya or third countries’,” she added.
Mass migration is central to "EU values" https://t.co/IyYjEJ30mh
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 25, 2018
Italy seized one of Proactiva’s “rescue ships” for weeks earlier this year, accusing the group of promoting illegal immigration before a judge last month ordered its release, against the wishes of prosecutors.
Staff at Proactiva, which was awarded the European Citizens’ Prize by EU Parliament in 2016, are still facing charges of criminal association and aiding illegal immigration.
Groups operating in the Mediterranean, several of which have ties to open borders-backing billionaire George Soros, claim that their actions in ferrying migrants to Europe are necessary to save lives.
But the number of deaths at sea plunged dramatically when NGOs suspended their operations on the migration route last year after Italy introduced a code of conduct, as Breitbart London reported last summer.