January 29, 2019

Netherlands Reject Italy’s Request to Accept 47 Migrants from Rescue Ship

The Netherlands rejected Italy’s request to accept 47 migrants from the humanitarian ship blocked from Italian ports, Reuters reports. 

German humanitarian groups’ The Sea Watch 3 ship under the flag of the Netherlands rescued migrants near the Libyan coast more than a week ago. 

Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio claimed that the ship must go to either France (which he has accused of shirking its responsibilities) or to the Netherlands. 

The Dutch Justice and Security Ministry dealing with the immigration policy claimed that it is not going to accept migrants from Sea Watch until a long-term agreement on how to distinguish refugees from economic migrants is reached.

 “Those who are not entitled to international protection need to be sent back immediately on arrival at European borders. Without a clear perspective for such a structural solution, the Netherlands will not participate in ad hoc measures for the disembarkation,” the statement says. 

The Sea Watch 3 appeared in sea for the second time during the month with rescued migrants onboard and without a safe port. The latest standoff ended after 19 days and the agreement between eight EU countries, including Italy, to accept migrants.