Musk taunts Germans over rescue efforts dropping off migrants in Italy


Billionaire Elon Musk ventured into German politics on Saturday amid heated debates in Europe over immigration. Musk argues that migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean can be considered an “invasion” of Italy.

Musk, born in South Africa, now with Canadian citizenship and living in the US, shared a post calling for a victory for the far-right AfD party a week before regional elections in two large German states.

Berlin is embroiled in a dispute with Italy over non-governmental organizations’ sea rescue operations, with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni demanding on Friday that charity ships drop the migrants in their own countries.

Musk shared a post by X-user (formerly Twitter) “Radio Genoa” which criticized the activities of German NGOs in the Mediterranean and expressed the hope that “AfD wins the election to stop this European suicide”.

To a question from Musk – about “whether the German public is aware of this” – the German Department of Foreign Affairs answered curtly: “Yes. And you call it saving lives.”

The foreign minister’s answer led to further fierce criticism from Musk and in a post early Saturday morning he wrote: “To be honest, I doubt the majority of Germans support this.”

“Did you do a poll? Surely it must be a violation of Italy’s sovereignty if Germany comes to drop large numbers of illegal immigrants on its territory. Looks like an invasion,” Musk wrote.

Meloni recently wrote a letter to the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, about her “stupid surprise” that Germany funds welfare groups that help illegal migrants in her country.

Asked about the letter, Berlin confirmed that he is giving between €400 000 and €800 000 (between R8 million and R16 million) to two migrant projects. The money is for support in Italy to those rescued at sea, the German government said.

Germany’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, defended Berlin’s support for rescue operations last week. “Volunteer sea rescue workers have the task of saving lives in the Mediterranean area,” she said.

More than 130,000 migrants arrived in Italy this year alone, almost double the number of a year ago.

In Germany, immigrant numbers have also increased sharply. In response, Berlin announced on Wednesday that it will step up the policing of its borders with Poland and the Czech Republic in an attempt to stop people smugglers.

Regional elections will soon be held in Bavaria and Hesse and immigration is a key topic. Residents of Bavaria label this as the most important topic in a poll that was recently conducted.