Migrants disembark in Italy after five EU countries reached a deal
However, the same solution must be found for another rescue ship from LibyaEuropost
Italy's hardline interior minister Matteo Salvini allowed 116 rescued migrants on Italian Gregoretti coastguard ship to disembark on Wednesday after five EU countries agreed to share responsibility with Rome for looking after them. France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal have agreed to join the Italian Roman Catholic church in caring for the migrants, an European Commission spokeswoman told AFP. The Commission did not give a breakdown on how the migrants would be shared out between the host countries but the official said most would stay in Italy.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced a week ago that 14 EU members had approved a plan to redistribute refugees rescued in the Mediterranean and eight said they would actively take part. "A European solution has been found for the women and men stranded on the ship Gregoretti," Macron tweeted on Wednesday. "They will disembark in Italy, then be welcomed in six countries, including France. Our country is true to its principles: responsibility, solidarity and European cooperation," he added. However, the proposal drew Salvini's ire because it still involved allowing migrants to disembark on Italian territory.
On Wednesday he formally banned the Alan Kurdi, a rescue ship run by German charity Sea-Eye, from entering Italian waters after plucking 40 migrants from waters off Libya. At least 115 other migrants were feared drowned in a shipwreck off Libya – the deadliest tragedy in the Mediterranean so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).