Italy’s right-wing Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, has expressed her astonishment at Germany’s funding of charities involved in Mediterranean rescue missions. The tensions arose after the Catholic charity Sant’Egidio announced a new agreement with Berlin to finance initiatives supporting refugees in Italy. In response, Meloni penned a biting letter to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, criticizing their uncoordinated decision to support non-governmental organizations involved in the reception of irregular migrants on Italian territory and rescues in the Mediterranean Sea.
The German government stated that they have established a financial support program worth €790,000 to back the German NGO SOS Humanity in their search and rescue missions. They emphasized that rescuing people at sea is a legal, humanitarian, and moral duty. However, Meloni argued that EU member states should focus on structural solutions instead, such as working on an EU initiative with transit countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean.
Italy has been facing a significant migration challenge, with over 11,000 individuals landing on the southern island of Lampedusa in just one week. This brings the total number of arrivals on Italy’s coastlines this year to approximately 133,000, more than double compared to the same period in 2022. Meloni, who advocates for strict measures against undocumented immigration, wants to prevent Italy from becoming “Europe’s refugee camp.”
Meloni’s letter to Scholz highlights the lack of coordination between the Italian and German governments in addressing the migrant crisis. She calls for a focus on “structural solutions” that involve collaboration with transit countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean. Meloni believes that such an initiative would require fewer resources than the current agreement with Turkey.
Italy’s defense minister, Guido Crosetto, also criticized Germany, expressing disappointment at the lack of assistance and solidarity from Germany during Italy’s difficult situation in handling the surge of migrants entering the country.
The funding of charities involved in rescue missions has become a point of contention between Italy and Germany. While Germany emphasizes its commitment to humanitarian duty, Italy believes that more comprehensive solutions should be pursued. The situation highlights the challenges faced by European countries in managing migration and the need for a coordinated approach among EU member states. Italy, in particular, is calling for greater support and collaboration in addressing the ongoing influx of migrants.