African migrants rescued at sea by the organisation SOS Mediterranee on the deck of the rescue ship before being brought to Italy, March 2017. The issue of burden sharing has been one of hot debate in recent years with Italy accusing other EU countries of not showing enough solidarity to the frontline countries. Germany’s gesture is expected to promote a more liberal policy towards immigrants by Italy, Greece, Malta and Spain following a spate of arrivals in the Mediterranean in recent weeks / Photo: SOS Mediterranee

Germany ready to take in 25% of migrants arriving in Italy by sea

Germany is prepared to take in 25 percent of migrants who arrive in Italy by boat, Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung on Friday.

In an apparent goodwill gesture ahead of European Union talks on immigration later this month, Seehofer said: “If all that has been agreed stands, we would be able to take in 25 percent of people rescued at sea and who end up in Italy.”

“This will not overwhelm our migration policy.”

The talks in Malta, scheduled for September 23, have been planned as EU member states seek to reach a deal on the distribution of migrants who arrive by rescue boats.

Italy, in particular, has been the center of attention this summer after former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini closed Italy’s ports to vessels rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean.

But Seehofer was keen to stress Germany has a different view. “I have always said that our immigration policy is humane,” he continued. “We will let no one drown.”

Meanwhile, a new Italian government sworn in last week has suggested a softer policy on immigration, following Salvini’s hard-line stance. Furthermore, Italy said it had reached an agreement with EU countries to distribute migrants among the fellow member states.

Author: jsi/aw (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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