- Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is leading his country against immigration to the European Union.
- Macron said he would refuse to pay European funds to countries that refused to cooperate.
- The French president's remarks were understood as a clear warning to Hungary and Poland, which adopt a tough stance on European immigration policies.
France has announced that eight European countries have agreed to co-host migrants rescued in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, but Italy is not one of those countries. French President Emmanuel Macaron said six other countries supported a French-German plan to resettle migrants following talks in Paris.
Macron warned that he would not agree to spend any funding for countries that refuse to participate in the burden of that plan. But Italy, which was still facing the flow of dozens of boats loaded with migrants fleeing to Europe, boycotted those talks. Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, head of the right-wing coalition, is leading his country’s against immigration to the European Union.
Thousands of migrants try to cross the Mediterranean into Europe each year, most of them using Libya as a starting point for the trip. These trips are often carried out on dilapidated boats where migrants flock to the hope of reaching land. But since mid-2017, migrant attempts to reach Europe have largely fallen due to efforts by Italy and other European countries to encourage Libya to prevent migrants from crossing the Mediterranean – a policy condemned by human rights organizations.
“The talks concluded Monday morning that 14 EU members have agreed to the Franco-German document,” Macron said after talks with a number of EU foreign and interior ministers. Eight countries have announced their cooperation and participation in a stable mechanism that will allow the Commissioner of the European Union to act on a request, and the participation of these countries highlights the spirit of solidarity that is needed among the EU countries, he said.
The eight countries that have agreed to the agreement are Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, and Portugal. But six countries that have declared their support for the deal have yet to be announced.
In the meantime, Macron said he would refuse to pay European funds to countries that refused to cooperate. “We can not be selective when it comes to solidarity, we do not want to have countries that say, ‘We do not want your Europe when it comes to sharing a burden, but these countries are with us when it comes to funding,'” Macron said. “This will not continue, or in this case, I will not agree to approve such funding,” he said.
The French president’s remarks were understood as a clear warning to Hungary and Poland, which adopted a tough stance on European immigration policies. Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini did not participate in the Paris talks. “Italy does not receive orders from anyone,” said the head of the right-wing coalition of the Italian government in a tweet on the social networking site Twitter. “If you want to discuss the issue of immigrants, you have to go to Rome.”
Earlier this month, Italy officially closed the Migrant Center in Sicily Italian island. Salvini attended the closing of the 4,000-people center in Mineo, Sicily.