June 16, 2024 5:06 am

Germany’s government and Elon Musk spar on X over maritime rescue ships

Germany’s government rebuked X owner Elon Musk after he criticized the recent work of migrant rescue ships that German humanitarian groups operate in the Mediterranean Sea.

Musk late Friday shared a video that showed migrants and aid workers on a boat. The right-wing account that first put the content on X, formerly known as Twitter, praised the populist far-right Alternative for Germany party, which has taken a hard line on migration issues.

“Is the German public aware of this?” Musk wrote in his repost.

The German Federal Foreign Office replied to Musk directly on X, writing: “Yes. And it’s called saving lives.”

Musk responded that he doubted the German public supports the actions of non-governmental organizations that take asylum-seekers from unseaworthy vessels in the Mediterranean. He also asserted it was “surely” a violation of Italy’s sovereignty for German-operated ships to bring rescued migrants to Italian territory.

“So you’re actually proud of it. Interesting,” he wrote to the Foreign Office, adding that he thinks such maritime operations have “invasion vibes.”

The exchange comes as migration has returned to the political forefront in Germany and other European countries, with government officials and opposition politicians sparring about how best to handle an increasing number of arriving migrants.

Cities and communities across Germany have sounded an alarm, saying they are running out of room to accommodate them and to provide kindergarten and school places.

More than 220,000 people applied for asylum in Germany from January to August this year. In all of 2022, about 240,000 people applied for asylum. In 2015-16, more than 1 million people applied for asylum in Germany.

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