Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said on Wednesday the he would authorise no more migrant landings in Italy despite an EU deal to share them among member states.
“I won’t authorise migrants arrivals,” he said on a visit to Poland. “Choices are shared and meetings are held before, not after,” he said referring to Premier Giuseppe Conte whom Salvini has suggested went over his head in negotiating the deal.
“I am, and remain, against new arrivals in Italy,” said Salvini, who has denied access to NGO-run vessels to Italy’s ports. “[In Brussels] they pretend not to understand and they facilitate the work of the traffickers and the NGOs,” he added.
“Giving in to the pressure and threats of Europe and the NGOs is a sign of weakness that the Italian people do not deserve”.
Salvini said after a meeting with Polish leader Jaroslav Kaczinski in Warsaw also on Wednesday that he had proposed, and would propose to others, a pact in Europe similar to the one binding him with his government partner the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S).
This pact for the May Europan elections would enable “Italians, Poles, Spaniards, Danes and others to decide whether they agree or not”, Salvini said. “We will work on it before the [European] elections”, he prmised.
According to Salvini, the goal was for nationalists to form “the leading movement in Europe”. Salvini recalled that the M5S used to vote against issues dear to his League party like immigration and the Roma issue when he was an MEP but “now we see more eye to eye”.
Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi meanwhile confirmed that his country would not agree to the subsequent admission of migrants.
“There are proposals in Europe for the admission of more migrants from other vessels that are transported by smugglers and non-governmental organisations. This is a huge problem. For example, several people from North Africa are detained in Italy today. One of the perpetrators is accused of terrorism,” the Italian minister said after meeting with Polish Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinsky on Wednesday in Warsaw.
“As a minister, I will never agree to accepting other migrants,” said Moavero Milanesi.
“States must be able to protect their own borders and their own citizens. This is the reason why Italy and Poland have refused to sign a global agreement on migration,” he concluded.