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Italy to ask European Union to rotate ports for migrant arrivals

The proposal calls for a revision of the EU's military operation codenamed Sophia -- currently commanded by Italy -- and under which all migrants rescued disembark at an Italian port.

Published: 29th August 2018 10:11 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th August 2018 10:11 PM   |  A+A-

Migrants wait to disembark from Italian Coast Guard ship Diciotti in the port of Catania, Italy. (Photo | AP)

By AFP

ROME: Rome will Thursday ask the European Union to rotate the ports where migrants rescued at sea disembark, with France and Spain top of the list, a defence ministry source said.

"The proposal aims for a rotation of landing ports ... our goal is to ensure that Italy is not the only one taking charge of the problem, but also other member states," the source told AFP.

Italian Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta will travel to Vienna on Wednesday and put the plan to her European counterparts during an informal meeting the following day.

The proposal calls for a revision of the EU's military operation codenamed Sophia -- currently commanded by Italy -- and under which all migrants rescued disembark at an Italian port.

Sophia was launched in June 2015 following a series of deadly shipwrecks involving migrants.

According to La Stampa newspaper, Italy's idea is to rotate landings between Mediterranean ports, with a particular emphasis on France and Spain, with Greece and Malta also sharing the load.

Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio last week threatened to stop billions of euros of EU funding over migration, accusing Europe of turning its back as Italy grapples with seemingly endless migrant arrivals.

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