Rome has begun imposing a controversial code of conduct for NGOs operating in the Mediterranean which is designed to reduce the number of asylum seekers arriving at its shores.
Several aid organisations have refused to abide by the rules, drawn up by the Italian government, saying that to do so would restrict their ability to save lives.
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Italy insists that the code of conduct is required because of allegations that NGOs have been operating as an effective taxi service for people smugglers, even to the point of coordinating rescues with them.
All aid organisations operating in the area strongly deny the accusations, but they have had significant cut-through in domestic politics and fuelled calls for action at the very highest level.
The European Union wanted
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