Italian Leader Blocks Migrant Ships from Docking: 'Italy is Not a Refugee Camp'
Populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini says Italians are not 'slaves' of the EU
Italian populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has blocked migrant ships from docking in Italy as his government cracks down on mass-migration into the country.
Salvini declared that ships will only be approved for docking if all of the occupants onboard have been relocated elsewhere in Europe first.
Italy's leader was responding to an incident where a group of migrants was picked up by an Italian fishing boat named the Accursio Giarrantano, according to an Il Giornale report.
After the ship was refused access to a Maltese port, however, they were forced to wait a whole day before the migrants could be transferred to a coastguard vessel called Bruno Gregoretti.
Five of the migrants were later allowed to leave the ship after it was permitted to dock at the Italian island of Lampedusa last week.
Health concerns were cited as the reason the migrants were allowed on Italian territory by authorities.
Before allowing to coastguard vessel to dock, Italy’s government dispatched a message to the European Commission requesting for it to organize the relocation of the migrants on board.
So far, Brussels has made contact with member states but not one has agreed to take the migrants.
“I have already given indications that a port is not to be assigned before there is the redistribution of all 140 onboard all over Europe on paper,” Salvini stated.
This situation comes amid claims made by French President Emmanuel Macron that 14 European Union member states reached an agreement on migrant redistribution following meetings of interior ministers in Paris last week.
So far, nothing more has been said on the issue.
Macron blasted Salvini for not attending the meeting in Paris.
The Italian populist responded to the French globalist in no uncertain terms, saying, “Who are you?
"We’re not your employees or your waiters.
"We went to the official meeting in Helsinki where all of us ministers were there.”
“Italy will not be your refugee camp…
"There is the port of Marseille [in France], don’t come and put pressure on us.
"If you expect us to sign a document where ships arrive in Italy, you are wrong.
"Italians are no longer going to be anyone’s slaves,” Salvini went on to declare.