Published On: Mon, Jun 11th, 2018

Italy news: Salvini pledges Aquarius boat debacle is STARTING SHOT of migration debate | World | News

Italy’s eurosceptic deputy PM Matteo Salvini welcomed as a “victory” Spain’s decision to welcome an NGO boat carrying 629 migrants after he refused to open Italian ports to it.

Mr Salvini is being seen as making good on ‘get-tough’ anti-immigration electoral promises by banning the boat Aquarius in a move which has seismic implications for the European Union and its immigration policy.

Speaking to the press in Milan, the deputy PM said: “Evidently raising one’s voice politely pays off, something the Italian Government hadn’t done in years.

“We have opened a new front of debate for a new immigration policy at a continental legal.”

Mr Salvini, who also serves as Italy’s Home Secretary, also said his decision to close the country’s ports to NGO boats is “the first signal” to other EU member countries.

He continued: “Let me express the great satisfaction as deputy PM, as a minister and as a father for the way the issue is getting resolved

“The game doesn’t end today: it’s the first important signal that Italy cannot handle this enormous burden alone.

“The problem got solved thanks to the big heart of the Spanish Government but the European Union cannot keep going on big hears but from now on we count on a new day, a new beginning.

“We scored a point in our favours, but this isn’t the end of anything.”

Spain’s new prime minister Pedro Sanchez informed Rome the ports of Barcelona and Valencia would open their doors to the Aquarius “by the end of the week.”

The Dublin Regulation, the set of EU laws regulating immigration, generally require the migrants’ first country of entry to examine their asylum claims.

By not letting migrants in, Mr Salvini is trying to avoid Italy to take upon itself this burden.

Italy’s new Lega and Five Star Movement (M5S) coalition Government pledged it would pressure the bloc into reforming its immigration policy to ensure member states have an equal role in managing the migration crisis. 

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