Italy criticizes Germany for funding migrant charity groups
Following claims by Italian media, a representative for the German Foreign Ministry stated on Friday that Berlin was putting in place a legislative financial support scheme for both civilian maritime rescue and land operations.
A German plan to fund NGOs assisting migrants in the Mediterranean is causing problems for Italy, according to Defense Minister Guido Crosetto, as Rome seeks to impose stricter measures to curb the arrival of migrants.
Following claims in Italian media, a representative for the German Foreign Ministry stated on Friday that Berlin was putting in place a legislative financial support scheme for both civilian maritime rescue and land operations.
This comes as German Economy Minister Robert Habeck on Saturday announced that German communities are no longer capable of providing accommodation for migrants coming into Germany.
The German Interior Ministry ordered last week a halt in voluntary migrant intake from Italy, whose Mediterranean island of Lampedusa became the focus of a migrant flood last week, due to "major challenges faced by Germany with regard to its reception and accommodation capacities."
Last week, the Italian island of Lampedusa declared a state of emergency due to over 8,000 undocumented migrants arriving in just three days, surpassing the island's permanent population. Lampedusa's Mayor, Filippo Mannino, described the situation as nearing a breaking point.
A spokesperson for the German foreign ministry told Reuters "We have received several applications for funding. The review of the applications has already been completed in two cases," describing that each project was between $426,000-$852,160.
Crosetto told daily La Stampa that Rome considered the move "very serious," detailing that his party is focusing on fighting the "international criminals" that commit human smuggling.
According to Crosetto, Berlin "pretends" not to be aware that it is causing these difficulties for Italy, which "in theory should be a friend."
Germany's foreign ministry believes rescuing people at sea is a "legal, humanitarian and moral duty."
SOS Humanity announced on Saturday that it will receive around 790,000 euros from the German government.
The Pope on Saturday reiterated his call for European governments to take greater responsibility in caring for migrants making perilous journeys across the Mediterranean. He stated, "Those who risk their lives at sea do not invade, they look for welcome."