Berlin vows to take in thousands of refugees from Italy

Germany has pledged to accept 3,500 refugees from Italy, with 74 already transferred to the country, Interior Ministry spokesman says.

Berlin vows to take in thousands of refugees from Italy

Germany on Monday pledged to take in thousands of refugees from Italy amid the worsening humanitarian crisis in rescue ships on the Mediterranean Sea.

"It was always clear that these 3,500 that Germany had promised (to take in), and thus by far the largest number within the EU, were a first step and that this voluntary solidarity mechanism was a process," Interior Ministry spokesman Maximilian Kall said during a routine government press briefing in Berlin.

"Of the 3,500, the first transfer from Italy to Germany has now taken place and we are now implementing that. We took in 74 asylum seekers, while 3,500 is the German commitment," he added.

Kall stressed that the transfer process of refugees was carried out in coordination with the European Commission.

He left open if Germany would be prepared to accept more than 3,500 refugees that Berlin had initially pledged to take in.

Humanitarian organizations have reportedly urged Italy's new right-wing government to help the migrants disembark amid fears of deteriorating weather conditions and a shortage of provisions on board.

But Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi issued a directive warning that he was considering banning humanitarian ships from Italian ports.

Last week, France and Germany called on Italy to grant a safe port to a humanitarian rescue ship carrying nearly 1,000 migrants.