german funded NGOs such as Sea Watch, the ship shown in the image, are rescuing migrants and leaving them on Italian shores

German funding of NGOs a pain point for Italy


Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani had talks with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock on Thursday. Italy is annoyed over German funding of NGOs working with migrants in Italy, including a German one conducting rescues at sea.

Premier Giorgia Meloni wrote to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz Monday saying that she was “amazed” that Berlin had made the decision without liaising with the Italian government.

“Individual states’ financing should focus on structural solutions to the migration issue,” Tajani said at a press conference in Berlin. “No one is waging war on the NGOs,” added the minister. This may seem hypocritical to some when he is part of a government that has passed regulations imposing a series of restrictions on NGO-run migrant rescue ships.

“But they cannot be a magnet to irregular migrants who, as chance would have it, are always taken to Italy, and nowhere else, because it is nearest.

“NGO ships can rescue at sea, but Italy cannot be turned into the place where all NGOs bring migrants, in part because they do not want to come to Italy, they want to reach other European countries.

 “For this reason, a European solution is needed”.

Referring to the two countries’ “‘different opinions” on the funding of NGOs dealing with migrants in Italy, Baerbock said, “We talked about it today and we have done so before”.

She added that, despite these differences, “in three cases the disbursement of funds is imminent”.

Baerbock stressed that almost 95% of the migrants saved while trying to cross the Mediterranean are rescued by the Italian authorities.

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