"Up to now, Italy has been left alone and it has saved Europe's honour… But if we continue to proceed with short-sighted interests, Europe will continue in a spiral of crises that we won't come out of. It is a problem that regards everyone," Conte said at the presentation of the annual report of Italy's intelligence network, as quoted by the ANSA media outlet.
In August 2018, Italian Defense Minister Elisabetta Trenta proposed during an informal EU meeting in Vienna to modify the rules of the Sophia mission, and rotate the ports where migrant rescue ships dock to lift the burden on her country. However, no agreement on the matter has been reached so far.
In January, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said that Italian ports remained closed for migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea by non-governmental organizations.
A total of 8,950 migrants have crossed into Europe by sea this year through February 24, which is 10 percent less than during the same period in 2018.
Europe has been facing a large influx of migrants since 2015, and although the number of new arrivals has gone down since that, the issue of accommodating migrants and refugees remains acute, especially for Spain, Italy, and Greece, which often serve as points of first entry into the European Union.