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Italy’s Meloni says Germany funds NGOs bringing illegal migrants to her country: report

26.09.2023 17:30
The Italian prime minister has written to the German chancellor, expressing her amazement that Berlin was allegedly funding non-governmental organisations “engaged in the reception of irregular migrants on Italian territory,” according to news outlets.
Italys Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (right) and Germanys Chancellor Olaf Scholz (left).
Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (right) and Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz (left).PAP/EPA/ETTORE FERRARI

Italy’s Giorgia Meloni issued the letter to Germany’s Olaf Scholz on Monday, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

The Italian prime minister wrote: “ "I have learned with amazement that your government - in an uncoordinated manner with the Italian government - has allegedly decided to support with substantial funds non-governmental organisations engaged in the reception of irregular migrants on Italian territory and in rescues in the Mediterranean Sea.”

Meloni added that when it came to the “important and challenging issue of providing help on land,” it should be considered whether “such help shouldn’t be facilitated especially on German territory, not in Italy,” public broadcaster Polish Radio’s polskieradio24.pl website reported.

The Italian prime minister also said that “the presence of NGO ships at sea” resulted in more unstable boats with migrants setting out for Italy, which increased the pressure on her country and compounded “the risk of new tragedies,” as cited by polskieradio24.pl.

Meloni went on to write: "I believe that the efforts, including financial, of the EU nations interested in providing concrete support to Italy should rather concentrate on building structural solutions to the migratory phenomenon, for example by working on an EU initiative with the transit countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean, which would, moreover, require fewer resources than the one that has been in place for some time with Turkey."

Earlier, Defence Minister Guido Crosseto said Italy would have expected assistance and solidarity from Germany in a moment of difficulty related to the uptick in migrant arrivals by sea, ANSA reported. 

Crosetto said that priority should be placed on combating human traffickers, polskieradio24.pl reported.

A German foreign ministry spokesperson confirmed Berlin's decision to fund NGOs working for migrants and refugees at sea and on land in Italy, according to ANSA. 

It came after the latest influx of migrants to Italy’s Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, polskieradio24.pl reported.

Earlier this month, almost 10,000 illegal immigrants reached Lampedusa on boats in the space of a few days, according to news outlets.

The island normally has a population of just over 6,000, the Reuters news agency reported.


Source: polskieradio24.pl, ANSA, Reuters