Salvini Says Italy Can Block EU Budgets in Dispute on Migration

(Bloomberg) -- Italian Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini said Sunday that his government could halt European Union budget decisions and other policies if the bloc’s partners continue to show disrespect to his countrymen, in the nation’s latest spat with neighbors over migration from North Africa.

“We have shown that we know how to defend the borders and we will show that we could also block European budgets and actions as long as Europe and some countries keep mocking Italians,” Ansa newswire cited Salvini as telling reporters Sunday on a visit to Milan.

Salvini Says Italy Can Block EU Budgets in Dispute on Migration

Salvini, who is also Italy’s interior minister and leader of the anti-migration League, accused Maltese authorities on Saturday of sending migrants from across the Mediterranean on to Italy. He has refused access to Italian ports for ships which had rescued migrants, and clashed repeatedly with French President Emmanuel Macron over who should welcome new arrivals.

Salvini said Saturday that officials in Malta were supplying fuel, compasses and life-jackets to a ship carrying migrants that was then “escorted and sent towards Italy as if it was a garbage dump.” He added: “We have liars in government in France and in Malta, and we have people who are distracted at the European Commission.”

Michael Farrugia, Malta’s home affairs minister, tweeted Saturday that his country “has done much more than was expected, and disembarked migrants in Malta on humanitarian grounds due to Italy’s systematic failure to provide any form of assistance to persons in distress.”

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