Italy says it could block EU decisions if some countries ‘keep mocking Italians’

Deputy premier Matteo Salvini accuses Malta of sending migrants from across the Mediterranean on to Italy

Italian deputy premier Matteo Salvini said on Sunday that his government could halt EU budgetary decisions and other policies if the bloc's partners continued to show disrespect to his countrymen. It follows the country's latest spat with neighbours 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 Mr Salvini as telling reporters on a visit to Milan.

Mr Salvini, who is also Italy’s interior minister, 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.


Mr Salvini said 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”.

“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 on 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”.

– Bloomberg