Boat caught in Europe's migration spat brings hundreds to Spain

20 June, 2018, 01:04 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Spain rescues more than 900 boat migrants, finds 4 bodies

Far fewer migrants have arrived in Spain, but the number is rising fast, with more than 1,000 rescued by Spain's coast guard on Friday and Saturday.

More than 1.8 million migrants have arrived in Europe since 2014, and Italy is now sheltering more than 170,000 asylum seekers, as well as an estimated 500,000 unregistered migrants.

Referring to the costs, Salvini added: "Seeing that we pay, we'll take in who deserves to be taken in".

They also counted 41 migrants who were taken aboard a U.S. Navy vessel on June 12, survivors of a sunken dinghy.

Spain's maritime rescue service says it has rescued around 270 migrants and recovered three bodies from more than 30 boats trying to cross from Africa by sea.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has explained his stance on the matter of the 629 migrants stranded on a humanitarian ship, saying that had Malta been the closest port of call, it would have had no hesitation in taking them in. The Aquarius berthed in Valencia several hours later with 106 people on board, and another Italian ship, the Orione, is due to arrive later Sunday.

On the sidelines of a conference on immigration in his city, Carmelo Zuccaro said Saturday the NGOs' work "does not correspond to the sense of humanity or solidarity".

A diplomatic spat erupted between Malta and Italy this week, after Italys new home affairs minister Matteo Salvini closed the country's ports to the Aquarius and demanded that Malta take them in on the grounds that the ship was closer to the island than to Italy.

In his speech, Francis lamented how many people in the world are excluded from work because of war or environmental degradation and said that those living comfortable lives should seek to help them.

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"France will accept migrants who express the wish to go there" said Calvo. Italy has defended its decision to refuse the Aquarius and its 600 passengers entry.

Among the passengers are 450 men and 80 women - at least seven of them pregnant - as well as 89 adolescents and 11 children under the age of 13, figures released by the Valencian authorities show.

The ship carried 629 people it had rescued off the coast of Libya and spent almost a week at sea as Italy's new government banned it from docking.

Charities say the NGO boats are a vital lifeline, rescuing more than 88,000 people in the past two years, but critics say they are a pull factor, encouraging people to make the risky sea journey.

Spanish authorities have said they will examine the migrants case-by-case to see if they qualify for asylum according to the country's regulations.

The arrival came after Spain's Foreign Minister Josep Borrell agreed the migrants could go there "to oblige Europe to forge a common policy to a common problem".

The vessel is at the heart of a major migration row between European Union member states.

The migrants - mostly from Africa - will join roughly 37,000 others the United Nations says have reached European shores so far this year.

Earlier this week, Rome was outraged when a French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux, apparently quoting French President Emmanuel Macron, said Italy had acted with "a form of cynicism and a measure of irresponsibility" by turning the migrants away. Through the first five months of 2018, some 35,455 migrants reached European shores.

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