The European Union (EU) lashed out at Italian populist leaders Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini after they suggested Italy could cease payments to Brussels if other member-states do not help resolve the migrant crisis.
Alexander Winterstein, spokesman for the EU Commission, commented on the warning, which originally came from Five Star Movement (M5S) leader Luigi Di Maio, saying: “In Europe, threats are useless and do not lead anywhere. The only way to solve things in Europe is to work together constructively and with goodwill, which is what the Commission has been trying to do for some time,” Il Giornale reports.
The comments come in reaction to Di Maio stating on Thursday: “We have had enough, Europe must strike a blow. If tomorrow they do not make a decision about the Diciotti [migrant ship] and the redistribution of migrants, M5S and I will suspend the funding.”
The escalating tensions between the populist Italian coalition and the EU stem from League (Lega) leader and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini decicing to allow the ship Diciotti to dock in an Italian port but refusing to allow the 150 migrants aboard the vessel to disembark.
“No-one will land in Italy without my authorisation,” said Salvini, who also acts as Deputy Prime Minister, earlier this week.
On Friday prosecutors in Sicily travelled to Rome to question Salvini over his decision, and he has hit back against rumours that he is likely among the “unknowns” under investigation by the prosecutor of Agrigento.
‘I’m Not Backing Down’: Italy’s Salvini Stands Firm Over Migrant Boat Arrivals https://t.co/TO2ZYQVDlH
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 24, 2018
Salvini has also been slammed by migrant ‘rescue’ NGO Open Arms, with director Oscar Camps publicly denigrating him.
“Salvini is the buffoon of the Italian extreme right because he uses a very biased and populist discourse in order to make his party strong,” Camps alleged.
But in a Facebook post on Wednesday, Salvini declared: “I heard that the prosecutor’s office in Agrigento has opened an investigation. I also heard that the suspects are ‘unknown’ at the moment. But I’m not unknown. My name is Matteo Salvini, I’m the Minister of the Interior. Come on, try me too, I’m here.”
An emergency meeting in Brussels on the matter also produced no results or solutions, with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte breaking his silence on the ordeal by blasting the EU as “hypocrites.”
Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com