New dispute between Germany and Italy over the treatment of boat migrants: On Friday, the government in Rome demanded clarification on German plans to state-finance aid organizations in Italy that rescue people in the Mediterranean. According to a report by the Ansa news agency from Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s entourage, this would be a “serious anomaly” in dealings between European states.
Meloni’s party colleague Guido Crosetto, Defense Minister, spoke in the newspaper “La Stampa” at the weekend of “very serious” behavior. “Berlin is thus acting as if it does not know that it is causing problems for a country with which it is theoretically ‘friends’.”
The fact that the federal government wants to support aid organizations that look after migrants in Italy is viewed by Rome as interference in domestic Italian affairs.
Germany is preparing payments to aid organizations
The Foreign Office pointed out that the federal government is in the process of implementing an already known decision by the Bundestag. A spokesman for the ministry told the dpa that the goal was to promote both civil sea rescue at sea and land projects for those rescued. The first payments to two organizations for a land supply project and one for rescue at sea are imminent. The funding is between 400,000 and 800,000 euros.
The question of migration and the work of private German aid organizations in the Mediterranean have long been points of tension between Rome and Berlin. More than 130,000 boat refugees have arrived in Italy since the beginning of the year. One hotspot is the island of Lampedusa, where more than 10,000 people came ashore this month alone.