Commentary Salvini

Salvini accuses Germany of blackmail

Italian Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini has accused Germany of blackmail in the latest dispute between the two countries over the distribution of migrants rescued in the Mediterranean.

In a WhatsApp group Salvini reportedly wrote that Germany would only allow migrants rescued by an Italian coast guard ship into the country if Italy allowed another ship – the Alan Kurdi, carrying 40 migrants – to enter Italian ports.

The demand wasn’t even directly conveyed to Italy: Germany informed the European Commission of its demands which in turn notified Italy.

"We do not accept orders or blackmail from Germany," Salvini said in an interview with Italian media. He also accused the Berlin government of sending "miserable signals."

Salvini said on Wednesday that Italy would allow the 131 migrants on board the Italian coast guard vessel Bruno Gregoretti to land, after it reached an agreement with other EU countries. Germany, France, Portugal, Luxembourg and Ireland had indicated their willingness to take in migrants from the boat.

Title image: Italian Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini (MTI/EPA/Giuseppe Lami)

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