Elon Musk on Saturday criticized Berlin's support for NGOs rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean, after sharing a post on Friday advocating an electoral victory for the far-right German party AfD. “Is the German public aware of this?”, the American billionaire wrote on Friday on his social network by NGOs supported by Berlin and concluding "let's hope the AfD wins the elections". Regional elections are due to take place on October 8 in Germany, Bavaria (south) and Hesse (center).
“Yes, that’s what we call saving lives,” the German Foreign Ministry responded to the businessman on X. “So you’re proud of it actually. Interesting. Frankly, I doubt that a majority of the German public supports this. Did you do a survey? Surely it is a violation of Italian sovereignty for Germany to transport large numbers of illegal immigrants onto Italian soil? This makes you think of an invasion...,” added the boss of the electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla and SpaceX on the night of Friday to Saturday. “Illegal immigration must stop, but I am completely in favor of a significant expansion and simplification of legal immigration,” Elon Musk also wrote in the meantime on X.
On Friday, the head of the Italian government Giorgia Meloni warned that her country no longer wanted to welcome migrants saved by foreign NGOs. Rome accuses Berlin of financing several relief NGOs in the Mediterranean, some of which operate under the German flag. Giorgia Meloni wrote to Chancellor Olaf Scholz this week to express her “amazement” at these subsidies. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock defended on Thursday the role of NGOs which come to the aid of migrants trying to enter Europe via Italy. “Saving people from drowning at sea is a legal and European obligation,” she stressed.
Welcoming refugees has returned to the center of debate in Germany with the strong surge of the AfD, whose voting intentions are reaching records. At the beginning of September Elon Musk threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League (ADL, which fights anti-Semitism and racism), which he accuses of defamation against his social network.