Drifting ship and bickering states: EU torn over migrants' fate

Drifting ship and bickering states: EU torn over migrants' fate
By Natalie HuetAnelise Borges
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As a humanitarian vessel turned away by Italy and Malta heads to Spain, questions hang over the future of migrant rescue missions in the Mediterranean.


The leaders of France and Italy meet in Paris on Friday amid a diplomatic spat over the fate of more than 600 migrants stranded for nearly a week in the Mediterranean.

Euronews reporter Anelise Borges is the only TV journalist on board the Aquarius, the rescue ship that picked up the migrants last weekend from precarious rafts off the coast of Libya. She has been following their journey as well as the heated debate their case has sparked across Europe.

On Good Morning Europe (GME), she brings us exclusive news from the ship, whose advance has been slowed down not only by the political dispute but also by stormy weather.

As Aquarius approaches the Spanish port of Valencia – which agreed to take in the vessel after both Italy and Malta refused – questions hang over the mission’s future.

It’s unclear whether NGOs will be able to continue operating search and rescue operations following the new Italian government's decision to close its ports to all foreign humanitarian vessels.

"Obviously our intention is to be able to return to operation as a search and rescue vessel in the area off the coast of Libya as soon as possible," said Nicola Stalla, SOS Méditerranée search and rescue coordinator.

"At the moment it's difficult to foresee how long this will take."

GME presenter Tesa Arcilla also spoke to Christopher Dickey, world news editor at The Daily Beast, about the political divide this rescue mission has fueled within the European Union ahead of a June 28-29 summit of the bloc's leaders.

Dickey pointed out that divisions were very deep on this issue, not only between member states but also within countries and their governments:

"You’ve got Italy and France divided, you’ve got now Spain playing a different role than it used to play because it has a new government, and then you have Poland and Hungary who really don't want any migrants at all in their country, and are completely unsympathetic to countries that say there should be shared responsibility throughout the EU for taking care of these migrants."

"People have continued to come and continued to die in this tense kind of limbo where the EU itself cannot reach a united policy about how to deal with this," he said.

Follow more of the news stories driving conversation across the continent on Good Morning Europe, Euronews' new flagship morning show, broadcast live from our headquarters in Lyon every weekday from 7 am CET.

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