The ship 'Humanity 1' moored in the port of Catania, Italy, 7 November 2022 | Photo: ANSA / ORIETTA SCARDINO
The ship 'Humanity 1' moored in the port of Catania, Italy, 7 November 2022 | Photo: ANSA / ORIETTA SCARDINO

The Italian government is calling for new rules and a working relocation mechanism for migrants within the EU, tightening the grip on NGOs and requesting a Marshal Plan for Africa.

Italy's path on the topic of migration continues on two tracks: one with the European Union and another one internally, with the possibility of restoring -- albeit in a different format after the blockage of the Italian Constitutional court and of the presidential palace -- the security decrees that were signed, nearly four years ago by the Interior Minister and vice premier of the time, Matteo Salvini.

In the current government, Matteo Salvini is the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, in addition to being vice premier. The aim, which has been reiterated by a number of representatives of the current majority, is to contain the NGOs and to force all Member States to become more responsible in the reallocation of migrants.

In particular, Italy asks Europe to oblige States under which NGOs sail to manage the reallocation of the migrants they save in the Mediterranean with their ships.

Closing in on NGOs and pushing for a 'Marshall Plan'

On the internal front, the government aims to put pressure on NGOs. The idea, which is supported by the majority in the currents Italian government, is to restore the heavy fines and the repealed seizures by the former Minister of Interior, Luciana Lamorgese, during the Giuseppe Conte government.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani, called for a "Marshall Plan" for Africa that should include agreements with Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Niger and other Sahel countries along the lines of what occurred in Turkey.

Turkey received €6 billion from the EU with the aim of putting a stop to migration via the Balkan route. These agreements would allow to manage the migration flows directly from the countries of departure, realizing hotspots in Africa, as was proposed on several occasions by Premier Giorgia Meloni.

The identification and selection for those requesting asylum would be handled there and migrants would be then equally distributed among the 27 EU Member States.

European conduct code proposal

Another proposal is to draft a European conduct code for NGOs. In 2017 the Italian Minister of Interior of the time, Marco Minniti, had drafted a text, which was supported by numerous countries within the EU, including France.

However, few organizations subscribed to the document at the time. Doctors Without Borders and SOS Méditerranée did not, both NGOs were operating in the Mediterranean with their ships.

Among the rules outlined in the code of conduct was the commitment to not enter Libyan maritime waters and "to not communicate or send signals to help the departure of boats carrying migrants" as well as "not transferring people rescued on other ships".


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