Hardline Interior Ministers of Austria, Germany, Italy ‘Agree’ on Cutting Migrant Influx via Mediterranean

Hardline Interior Ministers of Austria, Germany, Italy ‘Agree’ on Cutting Migrant Influx via Mediterranean

The Interior Ministers of Austria, Germany, and Italy, all three of whom are insisting on tougher measures against immigration to the EU, have declared their agreement that the influx of migrants through the Mediterranean must be stemmed out.

Austria’s Herbert Kickl, Italy’s Matteo Salvini, and Germany’s Horst Seehofer met in the Austrian city of Innsbruck ahead of an informal summit of EU Interior Ministers.

Their stance on illegal migration has been well known, with Kickl and Salvini coming from far-right political formations, and Seehofer nearly bringing down the Germany Cabinet after his insistence on new measures against illegal immigration led to a crisis and complex talks that resulted in a compromise deal of the ruling coalition.

The trilateral meeting, and the informal summit of the EU Interior Ministers, in Innsbruck have come against the backdrop of Austria’s announcement it wants to make it impossible for migrants to seek asylum on EU soil.

Austria took over the rotating Presidency of the European Council from Bulgaria on July 1, 2018, and is to preside over the Union for the next six months.

Salvini, Seehofer, and Kickl said on Thursday that the flow of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe must be stemmed and that only refugees fleeing war must be allowed to reach the continent, as cited by Italian news agency ANSA.

Kickl revealed they were going to meet again on July 19 in Vienna “to continue the positive cooperation and to realize this great project.”

“We agree on very important things that concern Europe’s future,” the Austrian Interior Minister stated.

“[Immigration is an issue] where there was a lack of order for a long time, which we want to bring, avoiding that migrants can easily reach Europe, apart from truly vulnerable people,” he elaborated.

“[I will be satisfied] if the Italian proposals are able to become European with a reduction of departures, landings, deaths and costs,” Italy’s Interior Minister Salvini is quoted as saying.

“If the Italian model becomes European it will be a reason to be proud,” he argued.

Salvini also declared that Italy would no longer tolerate migrants flooding its borders, and vowed to work with Germany to help limit the number of those seeking asylum on German soil.

The Interior Ministers of Austria, Germany, and Italy agreed that improper immigration policies resulted in a boost of human trafficking.

“From here, we want to send a clear message to the world and especially to people smugglers that in future, it will no longer be possible to reach European soil without the right to protection,” Austrian Interior Minister Kickl said.

A day earlier, on Wednesday, German Interior Minister Seehofer said he was confident Germany and Italy would reach an agreement under which the former would return migrants to the latter by the end of July, DW reports.

His Italian counterpart Salvini, however, set the precondition of a coming up with a common EU solution to the migration issue, exposing certain disagreements between Italy, a top entry point into the EU, and Germany, a top intra-EU destination for non-EU migrants.

“Before accepting a single immigrant in Italy, we want Europe to protect its external borders. When that becomes a reality we can talk about all the rest,” Salvini stated.

(Banner image: TV grab from MSN)

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