Open Arms Case, Prime Minister Conte writes to Minister Salvini: "Unfair collaboration is unacceptable"

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Premier Giuseppe Conte writes to Matteo Salvini. A long open letter based on the Open Arms NGO. The solidarity ship that, in these hours, is located in front of the port of Lampedusa. The prime minister also speaks of "closed ports". A long letter where Conte invites Salvini to "urgently adopt the necessary measures to ensure assistance and protection for minors present in the boat".

Dear Minister of the Interior, dear Matteo, I am writing you this open letter because the case of the Open Arms ship now dominates the front pages of the newspapers and because I am forced to note that the official correspondence between the Presidency of the Council and the Interior Ministry is also then reported in the newspapers and then we might as well make it public at the origin, for better transparency also towards the citizens. I have written to you a formal communication, with which, after recalling various normative references and the jurisprudence on the subject, I invited you, literally, "in compliance with the legislation in force, to urgently adopt the necessary measures to ensure assistance and protection for minors present in the boat ”. To my enormous surprise, yesterday you summarized this position of mine, generally giving me the will to disembark migrants on board. I understand your faithful and obsessive concentration in dealing with the issue of immigration by reducing it to the formula "closed ports". You are a political leader and you are legitimately striving to constantly increase your support. But to speak as Minister of the Interior and to alter a clear position of your Prime Minister, written in black and white, is a different matter. It is a clear example of unfair collaboration, the umpteenth to tell the truth, which I cannot accept. As I have always publicly represented, the theme of immigration is a complex subject. It must be tackled with a broad policy, as I have tried to do since the first European Council in which I participated, at the end of June 2018, avoiding being crushed by individual emergency cases. I immediately developed a political platform based on six premises and ten objectives, in order to include all the individual initiatives in this strategic perspective, always constantly inspired by the protection of fundamental rights and, in particular, the dignity of the person and the protection of our national interests, often compromised in the management of the migration phenomenon. I have personally contributed to pursuing this new political approach, which is more rigorous than in the past, in order to combat illegal immigration more effectively and the modern and inhuman "trafficking of the desperate", fed by criminal organizations. I have traveled far and wide in Africa and the Middle East to increase cooperation in countries of origin and transit countries, where migrant routes are concentrated. We have always worked intensely, also involving Minister Moavero, to make the repatriation mechanism more effective for migrants who do not have the right to any protection. I will fight until the last day to assert a European mechanism, to be applied almost automatically, to operate a redistribution that sees all the countries of the Union fully involved, so as to prevent the countries of first landing, such as the Italy, let them be left to themselves. While waiting for this European mechanism to be implemented, I have always personally intervened, with other European countries, to demand and obtain a redistribution of migrants who have landed in our ports. And in this regard we must acknowledge that both the European Commission and some European leaders have always held out their hands to unlock emergency situations. This is the time to insist in the direction of an increasingly European solution, otherwise Italy will find itself completely isolated in a situation that will become, again, increasingly unmanageable. The new President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in the talks we have had so far, seemed very determined to take this path and give us a decisive hand.
Ultimately, if we really want to protect our "national interests", we cannot limit ourselves to exhibiting positions of absolute intransigence. We have miles of coastline and we are a few hours away from Africa and the Middle East. Finally you yourself have noticed how difficult it is to counter the newspapers, minute landings in secret.
We cannot act alone. We must continue to insist in Europe, as you did, recently in Helsinki. This is the right direction. And then we do not obscure what we have done good. If we ever regret what we wanted to achieve and we still haven't achieved. One last update on the Open Arms affair. France, Germany, Romania, Portugal, Spain and Luxembourg have just informed me that they are willing to redistribute migrants. Once again, my European counterparts reach out to us. We are now running out of our government experience. We have worked side by side for many months and have always tried to convey to you the values ​​of the dignity of the role we hold and the sensitivity for the institutions we represent. Your political enthusiasm and the anxiety of communicating, however, have often led you to operate "institutional gaps", which at times have become real "institutional tears". For these reasons I found myself forced to intervene several times – I did it mostly privately – not because of the anxiety of politically opposing your initiatives, but because of the need to claim the application of the principle of "sincere cooperation", which is fundamental for the proper functioning of public institutions. The political consensus that every political leader aspires to feeds on voter confidence. But if we do not feed citizens' trust in public institutions, a short circuit is created and eventually anger and disaffection prevail. We must all work to give full dignity to the institutions we represent, in the sign of loyal cooperation. You have a long political career behind you. Many associate it in power. I associate it with an enormous responsibility. "

"I read with amazement that you reproach me for an" obsession "for the" closed ports ", it speaks of anger, disloyalty, anxiety, enthusiasm and more. I have been loyal and always will be in full respect of every institutional charge and, first of all, towards the citizens I meet and who ask me to intervene. Moreover, I read these accusations while I have been working in Castel Volturno for hours on the work of the National Committee for Order and Security.

The collapse of landings by 80% compared to last year (from 20,000 to 4,000) is 90% compared to the previous year, with many fewer deaths and savings for Italians of billions of euros, which will be used to hire within one year 8,000 women and men of law enforcement. We are also working to reorganize the "stocks" that every day take over 2,000 men in uniform from the streets: we will evaluate whether these 565 stocks are still all justified.

So I confess my "guilt", my dear President, my "obsession" in combating every type of crime including illegal immigration. I am a Minister to defend the borders, the security, the honor, the dignity of my country.

With me the ports are and will remain closed to traffickers and their foreign accomplices. And it is clear that, without this firmness, the European Union would never have moved a finger, leaving Italy and the Italians alone, as it did in the years of the Renzi and Pd governments. Happy feast of the Assumption to you and to all Italians, dear President, especially to the 56,698 women and men in uniform who also today guarantee our security, which are my pride. The fight against crime, of every color, type and nationality, is the purpose of my work. Indeed, of my life ”.

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