Prepare migrant NGO code of conduct, EU tells Italy

Italy should prepare a code of conduct for NGO ships carrying out search and rescue operations in the central Mediterranean, the European Commission said in its action plan to ease migratory pressure on Italy. The plan should be drafted in consultation with the EC, and on the basis of dialogue with the NGOs, it said.

Italy has said it will instruct NGO rescue ships not to enter Libyan territorial waters. It has also mooted barring non-Italian NGO ships from Italian ports, a threat that will be a key issue at an informal meeting of EU interior ministers in Tallinn on Thursday and Friday.

France and Spain have already said they will not open their ports to such ships.

EU member States should also mobilise to support migrant repatriations from Italy, the EC said in its action plan Tuesday. They should also: contribute more to the Fund for Africa, to complete a 2.6-billion-euro contribution; accelerate relocations from Italy; and press ahead with reforming the Dublin regulation. The EC vowed to support the “organisation of a centre of coordination for sea rescues fully operational in Libya”. It also urged Tunisia and Libya to name respective areas of search and rescue (SAR) for migrants and set up an official coordinating office for sea rescues. The two countries have never set up their SAR areas, which serve to map out the areas of sea they are competent for.


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