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    An Italian border police officer escorts sub Saharan men on their way to a relocation center, after arriving in the Golfo Azzurro rescue vessel at the port of Augusta, in Sicily, Italy, with hundreds of migrants aboard, rescued by members of Proactive Open Arms NGO, on Friday, June 23, 2017

    Author: Goal of NGOs Is to Change Italian Parliament's Laws Curbing Flows of Illegal Migration

    © AP Photo / Emilio Morenatti
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    The clash between NGOs seeking to save as many people as possible at sea and the Italian government aiming to stop the uncontrolled flow of illegal migration continues to escalate.

    Giulio Virgi - The story of illegal entry into the port of Italy of a ship with migrants is well known. At the end of June, the sea vessel under the Dutch flag Sea-Watch 3 under the command of German captain Carola Rackete, having not obeyed the orders of the Italian security services not to enter the port of Lampedusa, moored and then landed the migrants.

    Vessel Sea-Watch 3, when entering the harbour, rammed a boat of Italian Marine Financial Guard. Because of the actions of the ship’s “captain” Rackete, the crew members were also endangered. The captain was arrested and then released because the judge in charge of the case ruled that she followed the rescue instructions at sea in accordance with international law, which prevails over Italian law, and was forced to land the distressed migrants on dry land.

    The verdict of the Italian court led to a recurrence of the situation, in particular, with the vessels Alan Kurdi and Alex. Last Saturday, the crisis reached its peak when Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini reiterated the closure of the port of Lampedusa, stressing that law enforcement will enforce the law and will not allow the mooring of the vessel Alex belonging to Italian NGOs, however the Alex rescue sailboat managed to dock successfully and without difficulty. That means the government ban collapsed, causing a storm of indignation among the public, which has not yet forgotten how freely migrants penetrated the country in the past and does not understand why such a “breach” was formed again.

    Many media outlets noted that the majority of migrants were brought by illegal carriers who managed to bypass the surveillance systems, while NGOs still transported a small number of migrants, where one can turn a blind eye. However, this view is questionable for at least two reasons.

    First of all, this is a case of double standards. The smuggling of migrants only means committing a crime, and with NGOs, we see an open violation of the laws of the Italian state and attacks on the government. In fact, the goal of NGOs is not to transport desperate people from the centres for receiving migrants in Libya, but to change the laws adopted by the Italian parliament for curbing the flows of illegal migration. Ultimately, the goal might even be provoking a political crisis in Rome. As you can see, these are different things. Probably, the fact that the success of international volunteers can dramatically increase the number of people arriving in a short time, opening a path for much larger campaigns to rescue illegal migrants at sea, eludes the media.

    Hence the hasty reaction of Salvini and the Italian government, which immediately responded to the challenge, tightening the provisions of the new package of security measures considered by parliament. It provides for even more comprehensive and aggressive measures than those that were introduced over the past year.

    The Italian Armed Forces will start tracking the boats from afar and will be taking measures to bring them back to the point of departure. It will be assisted by the Libyan Coast Guard which has been given ten more vessels. At the same time, during the mission to combat the flow of migrants, where Italian military units, Navy ships and even submarines participate, they can be subordinated to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and a specially appointed prefect. However, the consent of Italian Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta, who, on the contrary, wants to renew Operation Sophia, so that European ships would patrol the Mediterranean on the most attractive routes, continuing to rescue migrants and disembark them in Italian ports, is required.

    There is another aspect of this crisis that deserves special attention. When the German government was preparing to take a series of restrictive measures against illegal migrants, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer spoke in favour of lifting the Italian port closure policy.

    This circumstance surprised many people because Seehofer has long been considered sympathetic to Salvini and to the Italian policy of fighting illegal migrant flows.

    Given the strong pressure of German NGOs in the Mediterranean, there is a suspicion that this anti-Italian strategy enjoys support in the power circles of the Federal Republic of Germany. After fierce battles in the European elections and in the course of appointments to top positions in the EU, it would be unwise to rule out the possibility that real methods of a hybrid war are being used against the Italian government, in which NGOs and migrants are only tools that have little or no idea about their role.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    Matteo Salvini, Horst Seehofer, duel, migrant rights, EU migrants, migrants, Migrant, NGO, Germany, Italy
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