EU: Italy complaints about EU navy mission can be discussed

EU: Italy complaints about EU navy mission can be discussed
FILE - In this Wednesday, June 13, 2018 file photo, a migrant has a health check up after disembarking from Italian Coast Guard vessell "Diciotti", docked at the Sicilian port of Catania, southern Italy. As NATO allies convene, one issue not on their formal agenda but never far from their thoughts is immigration, even though illegal border crossings are decreasing on both sides of the Atlantic. The separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border and Italy’s refusal to let shipwrecked migrants disembark in its ports illustrate the hardening positions on border control in Washington and European capitals. (AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli, File)

ROME (AP) — European Commission officials say Italy’s request to modify the terms of a Mediterranean naval mission focused on disrupting human trafficking can be discussed during an ongoing strategic review.

Operation Sophia, an EU military operation, is in Italy’s crosshairs after one of its vessels docked in Sicily with 106 migrants aboard over the weekend.

Italy’s hard-line anti-migrant interior minister, Matteo Salvini, used the occasion to announce that Italy wanted to block participating naval ships from docking going forward, as he has done with the vessels of aid groups that rescue migrants.

An EU Commission spokeswoman, Natasha Bertaud, said Monday that Operation Sophia’s operations are under strategic review, and that “this will be the opportunity to discuss the Italian position.” The mission’s current mandate expires at the end of the year.