Italy urges EU ports to take migrants as pressure builds
Italy's interior minister yesterday called on other European countries to open their ports to rescue ships ahead of talks with France and Germany on tackling the migrant emergency.
Marco Minniti, who was set to meet his counterparts in Paris later yesterday to prepare for EU talks in Tallinn this week, said in an interview with Il Messaggero daily that "we are under enormous pressure".
With arrivals in Italy up nearly 19 percent compared to the same period last year, Rome has threatened to close its ports to privately-funded aid boats or insist funding be cut to EU countries which fail to help with the crisis.
"There are NGO ships, Sophia and Frontex boats, Italian coast guard vessels" saving migrants in the Mediterranean, he said, referring to the aid boats as well as vessels deployed under EU border security missions.