Thursday

21st Feb 2019

Italy threatens EU budget veto over migration

  • Italy helped rescue over 2,000 people on Monday (Photo: Frontex)

Italy is threatening to veto the EU budget if it doesn't get more help with migration.

Prime minister Matteo Renzi on Tuesday (25 October) said he would block the budget unless countries like Hungary and Slovakia take in more asylum seekers from Greece and Italy.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

“Italy cannot take another year like the one we’ve just had,” he said in an interview with RAI state television.

Over 153,000 people disembarked from north Africa in 2015 to Italy in an effort to seek asylum or find a better future in Europe. Around the same number have reached the country so far this year, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). Some 3,195 died in the attempt.

The Italian coast guard is also coordinating large scale rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

They plucked 5,900 from the sea over the weekend alone with the help from vessels deployed by EU's border guard Frontex and NGOs. Another 2,200 were saved on Monday in 21 rescue missions.

Meanwhile, just under 1,400 people have been relocated from Italy under an EU-wide two year scheme to distribute asylum seekers to other EU states that was launched in September last year.

None have been sent to Hungary, Poland or Slovakia.

Renzi then pointed out that Italy's contribution to the EU budget is about €20 billion.

"If Hungary or Slovakia preach to us about migrants and don't give us a hand, and then want our money, in 2017, when the discussion on the budget starts, let Italy be alongside the government in saying there's no way, absolutely," he was quoted as saying in Italian news agency Ansa.

Renzi had also demanded that the number of people arriving from North Africa slows by early next year.

Italy is one of the main drivers behind EU-led efforts to sort deals with a handful of African states to curb migration flows by the end of the year.

Leaders at a summit in Brussels last week promised to intensify cooperation with governments in Ethiopia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Mali and step up returns and readmission of people not entitled to international protection.

Formal talks with Nigeria have since kicked off to send economic migrants packing from the EU as part of a bigger €60 billion investment package.

Nigerians surpass all other nationalities that arrived by sea to Italy this year, followed by Eritreans and then people from Sudan.

Renzi has in the past voiced frustration over the lack of support from other EU states ahead of a key referendum on Italy's constitutional reform in December.

EU buries migration dispute for now

This week's EU summit will take no new decision on how to manage the migration crisis. But differences of approach remain between member states.

Poland defies EU on rule of law

Prime minister Szydlo said the European Commission concerns over rule of law in Poland were political grudges.

Eight EU states take migrants stranded on NGO boats

France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania have agreed to relocate the 49 migrants stuck on two NGO boats moored, for almost three weeks, off Malta's coast.

News in Brief

  1. Juncker pledges climate action alongside Swedish activist
  2. Swedbank brings in external help on money laundering revelations
  3. No-deal Brexit danger 'very serious', Corbyn says after Brussels meeting
  4. Tusk to back pro-EU candidates in Polish EP vote
  5. Germany rejects UK appeal on Saudi arms sales
  6. French senators decry 'dysfunction' on Macron security aide affair
  7. France to ban far-right groups over antisemitism
  8. Swedish climate activist to face Juncker in Brussels

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. Microsoft warns EU on election hack threat
  2. Brexit talks to continue after May-Juncker meeting
  3. Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all
  4. EU commission appeals Dieselgate ruling
  5. 'No burning crisis' on migrant arrivals, EU agency says
  6. 'No evidence' ECB bond-buying helped euro economy
  7. Juncker: Orban should leave Europe's centre-right
  8. College of Europe alumni ask rector to cut Saudi ties

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us