After almost two weeks stranded off the coast of Sicily, the vessel run by German NGO Sea Watch was finally allowed to disembark at Catania today. The boat with 47 people rescued from the Mediterranean Sea had been denied docking by the Italian Minister of Interior, Matteo Salvini. S&D group leader Udo Bullmann who is at the port to witness the events and talk to helpers, said:
“We are glad to see that the 47 rescued people from the Sea Watch have safely arrived in the port of Catania. It is unacceptable that a right-wing populist leader like Salvini holds victims of torture hostage in order to spread his agenda of hatred, thus punishing them a second time. Salvini should instead turn to his so-called friends like the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán or the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. They are the ones blocking a European solution to the migration issue that would help take the burden off countries on the Mediterranean.
“We call on Salvini and the other ministers of Home Affairs and Justice to use next week’s meeting to move forward with the proposals for the reform of the Dublin system, to create a common scheme for redistribution and disembarkation. I want to thank the people from the NGO who work tirelessly to save lives in the Mediterranean. We will not allow any possible attempt to criminalize initiatives like this. Instead of destroying those providing a safety net in the Mediterranean, we should look for additional systematic solutions for sea rescue.”