EU-Italy relations on the rocks over illegal migrants flows
The European Commission has not responded to Italy’s threat to withhold funding to the bloc next year unless other member states accept migrants currently held on a ship moored in Sicily.
Alexander Winterstein, a spokesman for the European Commisssion, said that EU”operates on rules, not threats,” and urged all parties involved to “work constructively together to find a solution for the persons on board in the spirit of good cooperation.”
Italian Coast Guard ship Ubaldo Diciotti picked up 190 migrants on August 15 from an overcrowded boat 17 miles from the island of Lampedusa after they were refused entry to Malta. Of those, 13 people suffering serious medical issues were taken to Lampedusa for treatment.
The Interior Ministry spokesman said that 27 unaccompanied minors were allowed to disembark, leaving 150 adult migrants stuck aboard the vessel, which has been docked in the port of Catania since August 20. Italian authorities cited “humanitarian reasons” for allowing the children to go ashore.
The Interior Ministry said that all those remaining on the ship are being supplied with food and medical aid and none are in critical condition so far.
“If the European Union stubbornly continues to keep this attitude, if tomorrow nothing comes out from the European Commission, if they decide nothing regarding the Diciotti vessel, on the redistribution of the migrants, then I and all the 5 Star Movement will no longer be willing to give 20 billion each year to the European Union.”