Italy vows to veto EU budget over migrant funds row

Italy vows to veto EU budget over migrant funds row

By Maria Ermakova

Italy will start the process of opposing the EU’s next budget after the bloc’s member states failed to follow through on a deal reached in June for handling the flood of migrants, deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio said.

“We will look at all measures in discussions regarding the European budget and will block what doesn’t work for us,” Mr Di Maio said.

“The other states are not doing what’s not convenient for them”, he said, referring to the refusal of other countries to accept migrants who arrive in Italy by sea.”

Italian government officials have clashed with the EU over migration, with the issue brought to a head over the future of 177 migrants on a coast guard vessel, the Diciotti, which docked in Sicily’s Catania port a week ago.

Representatives from EU member states failed to reach a deal at a meeting last week in Brussels called to discuss a common approach on migration. The 10-year Italian bond traded at 3.16%, sharply above Germany’s 0.37% and Ireland’s 0.89% equivalent levels.

Italian premier Giuseppe Conte “did well” to say over the weekend the nation can’t follow EU budget rules as long as the issue remains unresolved, Di Maio said.

Migration is “just one of the battles” the government in Rome is ready to wage with the EU, he said. Italy is ready to “veto the budget and any dossiers where it’s possible,” Mr Di Maio said.

Between 2020 and 2027 there is €1.14tn in the balance.

There is no intention of leaving the EU, deputy premier and interior minister Matteo Salvini, who was the first to attack the EU in another standoff over a migrant ship, said.

Discussions about the EU’s next long-term budget running from 2021 through 2027 are still at an early stage, and Italy wouldn’t be the only country objecting to the proposals of the European Commission.

As for next year’s budget, Italy alone can’t block it. If Italy withholds monthly payments for the execution of this year’s budget, that would constitute an infringement of the bloc’s laws and result into legal action by the commission.

Reuters. Additional reporting Irish Examiner

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