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Migrants: “full agreement” in Paris talks; Gentiloni, strong solidarity towards Italy

PARIS, JULY 3 – The Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti met in Paris on Sunday with his French and German counterparts, Thomas de Maizière and Gerard Collomb, and with EU Commissioner Avramopoulos. Italy had requested the meeting, in preparation for the JHA talks on Thursday and Friday in Tallinn.

The meeting ended with “full agreement” in support of Italy on the issue of migrants, which includes more rules around the action and financing of NGOs and more funds to allow a better patrolling of the Libyan coasts. France and Germany promised to step up the relocation of asylum seekers from Italy according to a joint statement released Monday following Sunday’s meeting. The statement said that “strong solidarity was expressed towards Italy, which is facing a growing number of arrivals”. In the meeting Minniti also pressed for the “relocation” across Europe of migrants. NGOs will not be allowed to go so close to the limit of the Libyan territorial waters. Italy also requested more border controls on Niger while pressing France and Spain to start accepting NGO vessels in their ports.

Premier Paolo Gentiloni said on Monday that he hoped a deal his government reached at the weekend will change the situation. “The Italian initiative has produced the first results and I hope that these generate concrete effects,” Gentiloni said at the 40th conference of the Rome-based United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The Paris meeting also produced agreement on a new code of conduct for NGOs involved in migrant rescues in the Mediterranean, economic support for the Libyan coast guard and aid to the IOM and the UNHCR to ensure the reception centres in Libya meet international standards for life conditions and human
rights. It called for a European strategy for repatriations and full implementation of the EU programme to relocate people who need protection too.

The statement said that “strong solidarity was expressed towards Italy, which is facing a growing number of arrivals”.  Gentiloni said Monday that the whole EU must share the burden of the crisis to prevent the strain becoming too much for Italy. “All of Italy is mobilized to face the (migrant) flows and it asks for the EU to share the burden, which it necessary if it wants to stay true to its history and its principles,” Gentiloni said. “It is necessary for Italy to prevent the flows becoming
unsustainable and feeding hostile reactions within our social fabric”. (@OnuItalia)

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