Interior Ministry spokesman Steve Alter stressed in Berlin Wednesday that the move for European Union countries to share out numerous 249 migrants already rescued by Maltese military ships - plus 49 who have been stranded aboard private rescue vessels - is "an ad hoc decision. for the current situation".
A further 44 Bangledishi migrants which had been rescued by Malta will be deported to their home country in an operation that will be coordinated by European Union authorities.
The 49 migrants, including a baby and several children, were rescued by two boats on December 22 and 29 while attempting the unsafe Mediterranean crossing from North Africa to Europe.
Malta said another 78 migrants would be allowed to stay in Malta, and 44 Bangladeshi migrants would be sent back to their country.
The migrants have been stranded off the coast of Malta on two boats since late past year, with some suffering from dehydration and seasickness.
Pope Francis, at the weekend, appealed to European leaders to show "concrete solidarity" and give the migrants "a safe port".
Amnesty International's Southern Europe researcher Elisa De Pieri said the time taken to reach a decision on the migrants' fate was "shameful".
"The Italian and Maltese authorities have brazenly undermined the search and rescue system and used people as pawns to negotiate migration policies".
Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has said that if Italy takes about 15 rescued migrant children and their parents that wouldn't "stain" the country's crackdown on accepting migrants rescued by private aid vessels.
In the meantime, those aboard the Sea Watch and Sea Eye - who include a baby and several children - were celebrating the end of 19 days at sea.
"It is a testament to state failure; politics should never be played at the cost of people in need."
"Whether it's eight or 88, I'm not authorizing anyone to enter Italy", Salvini told reporters in Poland, during a visit to his allies in the right-wing populist government there. "Giving in to the pressures and threats of Europe and NGOs is a sign of weakness", he said.