08 April 2019
Matteo Salvini, the interior minister, reacted to the rescue operation and the ship's request for a safe harbour for disembarkation by issuing a directive which seeks to subordinate the infrastructure and transport ministry's competences for port-related issues to security concerns. Amongst these, fighting illegal immigration figures prominently.
With this directive, Salvini is attempting to prevent the application of international law and in doing so, he has cited the European Agenda on Migration as a justification.
In fact, examined alongside recent Council proposals, it appears that the approaches of the Italian government and the EU institutions to unauthorised sea arrivals are not necessarily that different.
See: Italy's redefinition of sea rescue as a crime draws on EU policy for inspiration (pdf) by Yasha Maccanico
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