Thursday, July 12, 2018

Italian Deputy PM Demands EU Border Protection 'Before Taking a Single Migrant'

EU Border Protection 'Before Taking a Single Migrant'
Ahead of the gathering of EU interior ministers, Italy’s Matteo Salvini is bargaining with his German counterpart, Horst Seehofer over the idea of returning migrants to the country where they were registered. After debates in Germany which threatened the coalition, Seehofer is trying to push his proposal at the European level.

Italian Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, the head of the right-wing Lega party and a persistent advocate of stricter migration policy, stressed that "before accepting a single immigrant in Italy, we want Europe to protect its external borders. When that becomes a reality, we can discuss all the rest."

The Italian official made the statement after meeting his German counterpart Horst Seehofer, who is also known for his strong stance on refugee policy, ahead of the pan-European informal gathering of interior ministers to discuss joint migration policy.

The Italian politician pointed out that both he and Seehofer shared a "common objective: fewer landings, fewer deaths, fewer migrants in Italy as well as in Germany," while the German official emphasized "The spirit today [meeting Salvinini's] was very solution-oriented." Seehofer admitted that the topic of rescuing migrants at sea, which Rome has to deal with and calls on the EU to pay attention to, is also a "legitimate concern of Italy."

Germany’s Interior Minister has shared his optimism about reaching an agreement with Italy over sending refugees back to the country they are registered in by the end of July or the beginning of August. He stated that ministries should now "very quickly" start negotiations and expressed confidence that an agreement could be reached. "But between a good start and a real solution at the end, there are usually still difficult discussions."

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