German money for sea rescuers
Meloni writes an angry letter to Scholz
September 26, 2023, 5:21 a.m
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Significant German funds will soon flow to sea rescue teams operating in Italy. Chancellor Scholz now has to respond to an angry letter from the Italian head of government. Meloni recommends that the federal government focus its efforts on solving the problems of illegal migration.
Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has appeared irritated by the dispute over German financial aid for civilian sea rescue organizations. In a letter to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the right-wing politician wrote that she was surprised to learn that the German government wants to financially support organizations that look after boat migrants in Italy, as Italian media reported on Monday. Meloni’s official residence confirmed the reports when asked. A spokesman for the federal government also confirmed that the letter had been received: “The letter will be answered.”
Rome sees it as interference in domestic Italian affairs that the federal government wants to support aid organizations that look after migrants on Italian soil. The Foreign Office pointed out on Friday that this was implementing a decision by the Bundestag. The first money – between 400,000 and 800,000 euros each – should be paid out “shortly” to a project for supply on land and a project for rescue at sea. One of the organizations is SOS Humanity.
Not coordinated with Rome
The German support with significant resources from organizations operating on Italian territory raises questions, Meloni continued in the letter. This was also not agreed with the Italian government. Instead, the EU states that are interested in concrete support for Italy should find more structural solutions, the head of government’s letter to Scholz continued. She mentioned, for example, the work on an EU initiative with the transit countries in North Africa.
The government in Rome had already taken an increasingly harsh tone against Berlin in the past few days. Italy’s Defense Minister Guido Crosetto spoke of “very serious” behavior. Like Meloni, Crosetto belongs to the ultra-right governing party Fratelli d’Italia.