A migrant ship, the Diciotti, docked at the Italian port of Catania, but prime minister Luigi Di Maio threatened that Italy would cease to become a net contributor to the EU budget unless there is a fair distribution of refugees.
The EU called an emergency meeting but no action was taken.Instead, the EU rebuked Italy for making "Unacceptable Threats".
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that envoys from EU states who met in Brussels on Friday did not reach a deal to share out the 150 migrants on board the Diciotti, an Italian coastguard ship docked in Catania since Monday.
Italy will “act accordingly”, he said on Facebook, noting the EU had failed to live up to its principles of “solidarity and responsibility” and that there was a gulf “between words and actions” that is colored by “hypocrisy”.
More than 650,000 people have reached Italian shores since 2014 and Rome has begun to take a rigidly anti-immigration line, saying it will not let any more rescue ships dock unless other EU states agree to take the people in.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who heads the anti-immigrant League party, has insisted they will not be allowed ashore until other EU states agree to take them in - prompting a criminal investigation into whether the migrants are being held against their will.
“Unconstructive comments, let alone threats ... will not get us any closer to a solution,” [EU] spokesman Alexander Winterstein told a news conference on Friday.
Opposition lawmaker, Riccardo Magi, said most on board could qualify for asylum.
Magi petitioned the Catania prosecutor to open a criminal investigation into whether the migrants were being held against their will. Agrigento’s chief prosecutor has opened a probe against “unknown” persons for holding them.
Held Against Their Will?!
Excuse me for pointing out that the ship is free to leave any time it wants.
Let's also note the EU hypocrisy. Did Germany,France, Spain, the Netherlands, or any other country volunteer to take the migrants?
No, of course not. Rather they insist Italy take them.
Schengen Fatally Flawed
The Schengen agreement states that migrants apply for asylum at the first port of entry. This fatal flaw puts undue and unfair pressure on Italy and Greece, countries with closest first access.
I am all in favor of freedom of movement between countries in the EU.
Extending that freedom of movement to anyone and everyone is a colossal mistake.
In regards to threats, what the Hell is Italy supposed to do? I support the threats.
Nothing else has a remote chance of working. And take a look at the economic backdrop.
Italy Unemployment Rate
Italy Youth Unemployment Rate
Italy Debt to GDP
The EU hypocrites want Italy, with an unemployment rate near 112%, a youth unemployment rate over 32%, and a massive debt-to-GDP problem to single-handedly take on all migrant comers.
These people generally have no skills, no money, and cannot speak Italian. They will be a drain on resources the government does not have.
If Italy takes in these refugees, there will be millions more of them.
The problem is unfxable!
For the same reason every EU and EMU (Eurozone) fundamental flaw is unfixable: It takes unanimous consent to change anything.
Germany, France, the Netherlands, nor any other non-port of entry will agree to change the treaty. Italy and Greece will forever be left holding the bag.
Eurobonds cannot happen for the same reason: Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and Finland will say no, and it only takes one.
EU trade treaties take forever to negotiate because every country in the EU has to sign off on them. The more countries in the EU, the harder it is to do anything.
The UK was wise to attempt to get out of this mess. A clean hard break would be best if only UK prime minister Theresa May would see the light.
Italy has many problems of its own making of course, but the EU and Eurozone add to Italy's problems. Italy should never have been in the Eurozone.
Meanwhile, the stew simmers. It's only a matter of time before Italy decides it has had enough.
By the way, the US heavily contributed to this migration mess.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock