Renzi threatens EU budget veto over migrants

Matteo Renzi [European Council]

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi yesterday (25 October) threatened to veto the EU’s budget over a lack of solidarity from the rest of Europe as the bloc struggles to manage the refugee crisis.

“We give €20 billion to Europe so that we can get back 12 – and if Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia want to preach at us about immigrants, allow Italy to say that the system is no longer working,” Renzi told RAI 1 television.

Hollande attacks Slovakia, Hungary over response to refugee crisis

The voluntary system has not provided enough space for refugees in the European Union. François Hollande has blamed this failure on the bad will of certain countries. EURACTIV France reports

Asked if he was ready to use Italy’s veto to torpedo the EU’s budget, he said, “Yes, absolutely.”

Renzi railed against central European countries that have closed off their borders to migrants and refused to take in asylum seekers under an EU quota plan.

Hungary, Austria seal their borders as refugee crisis escalates

Hungary’s right-wing government shut the main land route for migrants into the European Union on Tuesday (15 September), aiming to halt a massive influx of refugees.

“If you build walls against immigrants, you can forget about seeing Italian money. If the immigrants don’t go there, the money won’t go there either,” he said.

Cut funds to states that turn away refugees, Italy urges EU

Eastern states that continue to refuse to take in refugees to help frontline countries in Europe’s migration crisis should have their EU funding cut, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Wednesday (12 October).

Italy’s Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan confirmed yesterday evening that the government had received a letter from the European Commission demanding “clarifications” from Italy concerning its 2017 national budget.

Italy warns of disaster if Europe rejects its budget

Italy’s economy minister said yesterday (23 October) the European Union must choose between allowing Rome to raise its deficit to cope with a recent earthquake and the migrant crisis, or the “Hungarian way” of putting up barriers, which he said would spell doom for the bloc.

Italy has a forecast public deficit of 2.3% of GDP in 2017 – significantly higher than that expected by Brussels – due to a deadly earthquake in August, as well as the costs of hosting migrants arriving across the Mediterranean from North Africa.

“The clarifications demanded are linked to exceptional expenditure for the earthquake and over immigration,” Padoan said.

Italy has seen 155,000 people arrive on its shores this year, putting immense strain on its overcrowded reception centres – as well government coffers.

Yesterday the Italian coastguard, which coordinates rescue operations off the Libyan coast, said 500 people had been rescued from four inflatable boats during the day.

New deaths put Italy on track for sombre migrant records

Italy’s coastguard said yesterday (24 October) that another 16 people had died during operations in which 2,200 migrants were rescued off Libya, propelling both deaths at sea and the numbers arriving in Italy towards new highs.

Thirteen dead bodies were recovered by two of the rescue boats – 11 by a ship run by the charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF), and the others by a Maltese patrol vessel.

Subscribe to our newsletters