The Malta Independent 26 May 2019, Sunday

Sea Watch: Maltese diplomat says Di Maio is being blackmailed by Germany and the EU - report

Saturday, 5 January 2019, 14:10 Last update: about 6 months ago

An eventual decision to welcome women and children at present on board the NGO vessel Sea Watch 3 into Italy would not be generosity on the part of the Italian government but rather is due to ‘blackmail’ by Germany and the EU, a Maltese diplomatic source is reported to have told an Italian news portal.

The Maltese diplomat, who was not named, told tpi.it that in order to participate in the distribution of the migrants, Germany would have told Italy they too would need to receive some of the migrants.

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The European Commission has also put pressure on Italy and as a result Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte decided in the end to welcome 12 women and children, the report reads. Only after this decision did Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio decide to turn it into ‘political gain’, making the statement to accept women and children. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has however said that Italy would not give in an inch.

Di Maio asked Malta to allow the migrants in Malta and to send the women and children onboard to Italy, who would coordinate a voluntary re-allocation.

The news portal reports the Maltese diplomatic source saying, with regard to Malta acception nearly 200 migrants earlier in the week: “We did it because it was our responsibility to save them and they landed in Malta without controversy and without clamour in the press."

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