, 18 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Very big news for EU refugee policy. #Italy hardliner #Salvini backs relocation - breaking from Orbán’s #Hungary push-back policy. But what does it mean? #SeaWatch3 Thread 1/18
Salvini - Dep PM & Interior Min - claimed in Jun ‘18 that Italy’s ports are “closed” to rescued people. He even turned away Italian coastguard boat “Diciotti”. 2/
And last week Salvini blocked #SeaWatch3 from embarking the people rescued from shipwreck. They applied straight to the European Court of Human Rights and... Salvini & EU states found a solution. 3/
Salvini was doubling-down on years-long efforts by politicians on Italy’s right & left, & across EU, to push migrants into hands of brutal #Libya militias globaldetentionproject.org/countries

A lottery of detention & death.

Instead of safe routes & fast, fair decisions by EU27 officials 4/
Italy (backed by EU) tried pushing back migrant boats to Libya. But in 2011 European Court of Human Rights declared that illegal in “Hirsi v Italy”. 5/
So Italy increased support for Libyan forces (Berlusconi had started that with Gadaffi) - giving Libya coastguards to catch migrants who had escaped those Libyan prisons.

Italian courts are looking at if that’s lawful. But slowly. 6/
But Libyan coastguards are disorganised (on purpose?). People rescued by #SeaWatch3 10 days ago had been spotted by Italian coastguard planes - but no Libyan boats came to their shipwreck. Read that story here: sea-watch.org/en/sea-watch-r… 7/
Salvini didn’t care. He refused to allow SeaWatch3 to dock. He tried to demonise the volunteers who saved those children and adults from drowning off the Libyan coast. He wanted Italy out of the picture. 8/
Italians care. Salvini’s reckless policy faces huge opposition from left to right. Mayors across Italy declared their towns open to refugees; MP from Berlusconi’s party went to SeaWatch3 as it trod water a mile off Sicily. A court indicted Salvini for kidnapping the Diciotti 9/
Under pressure of public opinion & looming Strasbourg Court action by SeaWatch rescued, Salvini backed down - turning from nationalist obstructionism to EU responsibility-sharing & co-operation. He agreed rescued could disembark, if EU states take them.

Great news! 10/
Salvini’s solution today is the opposite of his fellow-traveler Viktor Orbán. #Hungary’s Gov has opposed all EU relocation policies, even though Hungary counted as a border state - for asylees to be transferred *from* not *to*. 11/
Orbán’s solution was to try to close Hungary’s border, with a fence & blatantly illegal pushbacks to Serbia of people entering from Ukraine. Only 2 people a day are allowed to claim asylum. (EU is taking Hungary to court, but slowly.) 12/
But does Salvini’s action today mean Italy will stop its policy of funding Libyan repression & obstructing maritime rescues?

Not yet. There is much to be done. 13/
1st, EU and EU27 leaders must clearly affirm the legal right of #SeaWatch3 and all boats to rescue those in danger in the sea, and to bring those people to the safe port. 14/
2nd, Europe’s leaders must affirm that no rescued boat will be turned away from Europe’s ports. The place for immigration decisions is dry land. 15/
3rd, EU must resume systematic relocation of asylum-seekers from border states which see mass arrivals.

No more obstructive bureaucratic games (France, we see you.) 16/
4th, Europe must urgently explore safe routes. So long as Libyan militias mistreat migrants, they will risk the sea passage. Deterrence by death is a failed policy. 17/
I hope Salvini stops playing games. Half-drowned people should not be bargaining chips in Italy’s relations with the rest of Europe.

But I’m doubtful he sees it that way. 18/18
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