Italy to seize NGO rescue ships as migrant row deepens

BBC News | 6/21/2018 | Staff
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Italy said it will seize two migrant rescue ships in the Mediterranean, amid a deepening row over migrants.

Two German NGO ships carrying migrants "will be seized" to determine their legal status.

Move - President - Emmanuel - Macron - Feeling

The move comes as French President Emmanuel Macron attacked the "leprosy" of anti-EU feeling, angering Italy's new populist government.

Italy sparked the fresh row earlier this month when it refused to take in the Aquarius rescue ship.

Migrants - African - Coast - Ship - Spain

Carrying 630 migrants rescued off the North African coast, the ship eventually sailed to Spain after being turned away by both Italy and Malta.

Who is responsible for migrants at sea?

Leaders - EU - Member - States - Brussels

Leaders from 10 EU member states will meet in Brussels on Sunday to discuss how best to stem the flow of migrants to the bloc.

The Italian government earlier said it will not sign up to any EU plan unless it makes helping Italy a priority, while Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary - known as the Visegrad Group - said they will boycott the talks.

UN - Refugee - Agency - Thursday - Drowning

The UN refugee agency on Thursday said it was "shocked and saddened" by the recent drowning of 220 people off the coast of Libya, and called for urgent action.

Relations will be further strained after President Macron's comments.

Speech - Brittany - Mr - Macron - Feeling

In a speech in Brittany, Mr Macron said anti-EU feeling was rising "a bit like a leprosy all across Europe", including in "neighbouring countries" - without specifically naming any one nation.

"They're saying the worst things, and we're getting used to it," he said.

Deputy - Minister - Leader - Five - Star

Deputy Italian prime minister and leader of the populist Five Star movement Luigi Di Maio tweeted in Italian that Mr Macron's words were "offensive and misplaced", saying that "true leprosy" is when countries turn back migrants and then "preach to us" about calls for them to redistributed to other EU states.

Why is Italy seizing the ships?

Ships - Lifeline - Seesuchs - Belong

The two ships, Lifeline and Seesuchs, belong to...
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