Salvini Furious After Paris Gives Medal and Cash to Migrant Ship Captain


Italian deputy prime minister and minister of the interior Matteo Salvini has expressed anger after the city of Paris granted a medal and 100,000 euros in cash to migrant transport ship captain Carola Rackete and the Sea-Watch NGO.

Ms Rackete, who was arrested earlier this month after forcing her ship into Italian territorial waters and ramming a patrol vessel to land migrants on the island of Lampedusa, was honoured by the city of Paris and given honorary citizenship by the city’s local government, Il Giornale reports.

The council released a statement saying, “It is a choice to highlight the important action of humanitarian organizations to help migrants.”

Also honoured was Rackete’s fellow Sea-Watch captain and fellow German national Pia Klemp, who potentially faces 20 years in an Italian prison on charges of aiding illegal migration.

The Paris government also donated 100,000 euros to Sea-Watch to help fund further missions off the coast of Libya in the so-called search-and-rescue (SAR) zone.

Several French MPs also signed a document praising the two captains, stating, “The arrest of these two women and the judicial proceedings against them have raised outrage across borders. Neither they nor their crews, nor the NGOs that own the boats may be subject to sanctions for humanitarian actions.”

Deputy Prime Minister Salvini reacted to the Paris government’s move with fury, saying, “The municipality of Paris awards Carola Rackete, prosecuted in Italy, with a medal. This is the one driving a boat that broke the law and crushed a [Guardia di Finanza] patrol boat against the dock of Lampedusa.”

“The municipality of Paris evidently has nothing better to do than reward these subjects,” he added.

Salvini went on to slam the Italian courts, saying that Italy had become “a strange country that investigates ministers and frees young ladies who attack [Guardia di Finanza’s] patrol boats.”

Rackete has hit back against Salvini, filing a lawsuit this week against the populist leader for defamation and arguing that the judiciary should remove Salvini’s social media accounts, claiming the minister uses them to “spread hate messages.”

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



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.