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Salvini Rejects EU’s ‘Insulting’ Offer to Pay Italy €6,000 for Every New Migrant

Salvini
MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images

Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini has rejected an EU offer to pay out €6,000 for every new migrant they take.

As leader of the nationalist League (Lega) party which makes up one half of Italy’s new populist coalition government, Salvini has seen his popularity surge with the adoption of tough new policies to protect the Mediterranean country’s maritime borders and block the NGOs which have been ferrying thousands of illegal migrants to Europe from smuggler boats off the coast of Libya.

Weakened by a series of advances by conservative, nationalist, and populist parties across Europe, the EU has so far attempted to use the carrot rather than the stick against the Italians, attempting to induce them to accept more migrants through financial incentives rather than financial penalties — without success.

“If they want to give money to someone else they can do so. Italy doesn’t need charity,” Salvini declared bluntly. “Italy is not asking for charity handouts.”

He added that, “Over time, every asylum seeker costs between €40,000 and €50,000” — clearly put out that Brussels thought he would fall for the ruse.

The European Union has struggled to find a sustainable resolution to the migrant crisis ever since Germany’s Angela Merkel opened the floodgates in late 2015, but has been consistently hostile to countries such as Hungary and Poland which have refused to compromise on helping to absorb the influx.

Mariusz Błaszczak, Salvini’s counterpart a the Polish interior ministry, has made it clear that the Law and Justice Party (PiS) government he represents will not countenance Brussels pushing migrants on his country, saying that bowing to the EU’s demands would “certainly be much worse” than any sanctions the bloc could impose.

“We mustn’t forget the terror attacks that have taken place in Western Europe, and how — in the bigger EU countries — these are unfortunately now a fact of life,” he added.

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