Six EU countries ready to take in migrants stranded off Italy

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(Rome) – Six EU countries have agreed to take some of the 147 migrants stranded on a rescue ship near the Italian island of Lampedusa, Rome announced, amid an immigration row between Italy´s interior minister and premier.

“France, Germany, Romania, Portugal, Spain and Luxembourg have told me that they are ready to welcome the migrants,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in an open letter to Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who has sought to bar the Open Arms rescue vessel from entering Italian waters.

“Once again, my European counterparts are offering us a helping hand,” Conte wrote, while condemning Salvini for “dishonest collaboration”.

He criticised what he called Salvini´s “obsessive focus” on an immigration policy reduced to the phrase “closed ports”.

Salvini has taken a hard line against migrants rescued at sea being brought to Italy, which he says bears an unfair burden as the first port of call for refugees from several countries.