Migrants: Italy to Frontex,others should also host survivors

Interior ministry delegation in Warsaw to review Triton plan

11 July, 20:36

    Migranti: Italia a Frontex, anche altri accolgano salvati Migranti: Italia a Frontex, anche altri accolgano salvati

     - ROME - Italy is calling on other States who take part in the Triton operation to also host migrants rescued at sea - in a ''regionalization of rescue operations''.

    This is the difficult mission pursued by the delegation led by border police director Giovanni Pinto today in Warsaw, where EU border agency Frontex is based.

    Interior Minister Marco Minniti has urged the delegation to be ''firm'' in negotiations: it is unacceptable for an ''operation to be international while Italy is the only one hosting'' migrants.

    The meeting was requested by Pinto to the director of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, with the objective of ''establishing the groundwork for a review'' of joint Operation Triton 2017 to obtain a ''wider involvement of member States in the management of rescue operations and more sustainable sharing of the burden''.

    The Agency for its part however recalled that the 2017 plan was approved by Rome and provides for Italy, the host country, to welcome the rescued migrants in its ports.

    The same rule applies for operations Poseidon (Greece) and Indalo (Spain). It will therefore be difficult to change the plan's framework. Pinto will nevertheless ask to reorganize services but convincing the 26 States involved in Triton will not be easy. Also, asking to leave a mission requested by Italy does not seem realistic, although when it was created - in November 2014 - there were significantly fewer landings.

    Promoting the principle that the country of the ship rescuing migrants should host them will also prove difficult.

    The interior ministry's delegation will however propose to organize rescue operations differently. Some 11% of the 85,000 migrants saved in 2017 were rescued through the operation. Today the prefect will report on the outcome of the meeting to Minniti, who will decide the subsequent steps.

    Another negotiation with Europe will concern the code of conduct for NGOs, which this year rescued over one-third of the total number of migrants. Everybody, according to Brussels, should follow the same rules on the type of boats and where operations are conducted. All Italian and EU ships have stringent rules and certifications, including NGOs, that carry out a growing number of similar operations and should ''abide by the same standards''.

    Negotiations are also ongoing on European operation Sophia - which is responsible for 9% of rescue operations - which expires on July 27 but will be extended until 2018. Given the impossibility of reaching Phase 3, which provides for the entry in Libyan waters, Italy is asking to review the guidelines to make it more effective and possibly avoid that military ships take charge of people rescued by NGOs.

    Minniti on Thursday will also fly to Tripoli to meet with Libya's mayors. This is a further step in a wider strategy with one objective: easing the migrant pressure which risks to become unbearable. The theme will also be discussed tomorrow in Trieste in a trilateral meeting between Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni, German chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

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