Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has said that Italy was "left alone" to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean, rejecting accusations that children are being "left to die" at sea.
"We have been left alone to do this work, at times outside of national borders," Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said in front of the Chamber of Deputies, Italy's Lower House of Parliament on March 22, responding to questions about sea rescues.
"Saying in front of the world ... that we are leaving children to die in the Mediterranean is not only slander against the government but also against the Italian state, the men and women of the security forces, and our entire system," she said.
Meloni also stressed that, in relation to the number of arrivals, it was the government that saved the most lives. This statement could not immediately be independently verified.
'Dublin Rule must be revised'
The only way to prevent tragedies like the one in Cutro from happening again "is to stop illegal departures," the prime minister said, adding that "this is what the government is trying to do."
She wasn't aware of "alternative plans," she said further. Meloni also made clear that the Dublin Regulation needed "to be revised". At the same time, she said changing the regulation "is not a solution for Italy."
"It refers to those who might reasonably have the possibility to be granted international protection, but the percentage of these people in terms of those arriving in Italy is a minority," she said.
Call for collaboration with Tunisia and Libya
Meloni also claimed that 70-80% of migrants arriving irregularly in Italy "remain without any response or solution. I think that a more holistic approach is needed and that this cannot happen without dialogue with African countries," Meloni added.
The prime minister defended her choice of involving Europe in considering a plan to prevent departures, reiterating that the first thing to do is to speak to Tunisia to avoid migration "flows that no one would know how to govern."
She also reiterated the idea of a naval blockade as part of an EU mission in collaboration with Libya.