The Italian government says the country will no longer be “Europe’s refugee camp” accommodating refugees rescued at sea as part of the EU Sofia mission, Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero-Milanesi wrote in a letter to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Federico Mogherini, AFP reported the agency on Friday.
The EU Sofia Mission was established in June 2015 against the backdrop of a migration crisis for humanitarian operations in international waters off the coast of Libya. Its members are fighting against human trafficking, training Libyan Coast Guard officers and saving refugees at sea. Until now, all refugees rescued in the framework of the mission “Sofia”, were delivered to Italy.
The current mandate of the mission expires in December. In connection with the warning of Moavero-Milanesi, representatives of the EU countries on July 20 held a second meeting this week in search of a solution to the problem. The European Commission also promised to speed up the procedure for reviewing the mandate of the Sofia mission.
The new government of Italy has resisted the continued reception of rescued migrants for many weeks. First, the head of the Italian Interior Ministry, Matteo Salvini, forbade the vessels of non-governmental organizations to enter Italian ports. Two weeks ago he announced that a ban was imposed on ships participating in international missions in the Mediterranean.
“Either Europe gives us a hand in making our country secure, or we will choose other methods,” Salvini later tweeted.