Berlin and Brussels Demand EU States Take in Mediterranean Migrants

PASSAU, GERMANY - OCTOBER 28: German police lead arriving migrants alongside a street to a
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Germany and the European Commission have urged European Union member states to take in migrants, with the German government set to highlight the issue at a meeting next week.

The demands for more EU member states to take in migrants comes after several migrant transport NGOs operating in the Mediterranean have again begun picking up migrants off the coast of Libya in recent weeks, Die Welt reports.

European Commission home affairs commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos has proposed a “provisional” distribution system to deal with the influx of new migrants as the Italian government, under the policies of interior minister Matteo Salvini, has refused docking of migrant transport NGO vessels at Italian ports.

German interior minister Horst Seehofer has said he will look at addressing the problem at the July 18th meeting of the Council of the European Union’s Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Helsinki, saying he wished to “make a decisive commitment to a humanitarian and workable solution to the current challenges of migration across the Mediterranean”.

The recent arrest of German national Carola Rackete, who captained the migrant transport vessel Sea Watch-3, caused German Chancellor Angela Merkel to request Ms Rackete’s release and has sparked a new push from the German government and the EU to back an EU-wide redistribution of migrants.

Previous attempts at migrant redistribution failed due to rejections by central and eastern European countries like Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia, the nations which form the Visegrad group.

Countries like Germany and France have since proposed fines on countries which reject redistributed migrants and the European Commission has previously promised to slash funding to countries which opt out of the scheme.

The populist Italian government, meanwhile, has rejected incoming migrants and has greatly reduced the number of new arrivals by denying port access to migrant transport NGOs.

The number of new migrants has decreased so drastically that earlier this week interior minister Salvini closed the largest migrant reception centre in the country, which at its peak in 2014, housed over 4,100 migrants.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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