Italy did not attend Monday’s meeting of the European Union interior and foreign ministers that Paris had called for to resolve the problem of illegal migrants in Libya due to disagreements over the refugees policy.
Italy’s populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini tweeted on Sunday that he strongly disapproves of France and Germany setting the refugees policy.
He added that Italy is at the forefront of the problem of illegal immigrants coming from Libya as most of the rescued migrants are offloaded in Italy.
“We intend to make ourselves respected,” Salvini said in another tweet.
France called on the European interior and foreign ministers to hold on Monday an unofficial meeting in Paris to discuss illegal immigration and the situation in Libya.
The call for a meeting came amid the intense debate in Europe about the impact of the Tripoli war on illegal immigration.
“The haggling about emergency rescue in the Mediterranean must finally end. It is really necessary that we manage to put together a coalition of those who are prepared to help, and I think we came a step closer to that today,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters.
The problem of illegal immigrants has raised debates among European countries, some of which have called for the redistribution of migrants among the other EU countries.
This debate has negatively impacted the Operation of Sophia, the European naval mission led by Rome to fight illegal immigration as some EU countries called for amending the operation’s regulations for the other EU countries to share the burden of illegal migrants.