Written by Ben Hall. Produced and directed by James Sandy. Edited by Richard Topping
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Europe is once again in disarray over its handling of migrants coming across the Mediterranean from the Libyan coast. There are two rescue vessels in the Mediterranean at the moment with several hundred migrants on board, including scores of children, who have been seeking a safe harbour. But they've been mostly denied by various EU countries.
One of the vessels, the Open Arms, has been circling the Mediterranean after it was denied entry into Italian ports. On Wednesday, an Italian court overturned a government ban. And the Open Arms is now sailing towards Lampedusa, where it hopes it will be able to enter into the harbour and offload the people that it has on board.
However, Matteo Salvini, Italy's hard-line interior minister, is determined to stop the boat docking. Mr Salvini argues that this is no longer Italy's problem, even though its ports are often closest and it has humanitarian obligations to help.
Open Arms, for example, is a Spanish boat. And he thinks that Spain should take in the migrants. Spain has so far refused to do so, pointing out that it has already taken 20,000 migrants across the Mediterranean, mostly from Morocco, so far this year. But it now seems ready to accept at least some of those people who are on board.
At the root of the issue here is the fact that Europe's asylum system puts an unfair burden on frontline countries. The rules require asylum seekers to apply for asylum in the first country in the EU where they step foot. That puts an intolerable burden on countries like Greece and Italy and now Spain.
Previous EU attempts to ensure that there's a fairer sharing of the burden have been scuppered by resistance, especially in Eastern Europe. President Emmanuel Macron, earlier this summer, brought together a number of countries to try and come up with a system of cooperation and burden sharing. But Italy, perhaps betraying Mr Salvini's political motives here, boycotted the event.
The numbers coming across the central Mediterranean area are just a fraction of what they were in the 2015 to 2016 migrant crisis when 1.4 million made their way across the sea into Europe. But it is still a huge problem for the EU, revealing its political divisions and the lack of a common asylum system that allows the bloc to handle the arrival of migrants without putting their lives at risk.