Italy's Renzi slams EU leaders over migrant quotas

2015-06-26 12:58
Matteo Renzi. (File: AFP)

Matteo Renzi. (File: AFP)

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Brussels - Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi launched a furious broadside at fellow EU leaders on Thursday for failing to help deal with a tide of Mediterranean migrants, sources said.

"If that's your idea of Europe, you can keep it," Renzi told his 27 counterparts at a European Union summit in Brussels, Italian sources told AFP.

"Either give us solidarity or don't waste our time," they quoted him as saying.

Renzi lashed out after the EU leaders at the summit failed to reach a consensus on mandatory quotas for migrants who land in frontline states like Italy, Greece and Malta.

They rejected European Commission proposals that 40 000 Syrian and Eritrean asylum-seekers who have already arrived in Europe should be redistributed according to a compulsory system.

"If you don't want to take the 40 000 you are not fit to be called Europe," added Renzi.

More than 100,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year, most of them landing in Italy, Greece and Malta who say their EU peers should share more of the burden.

The EU held an emergency summit on April 23 after around 800 migrants died when their boat sank in one of the worst disasters of its kind in the Mediterranean.

Renzi's comments came after an Italian mayor on the frontline of the crisis said failing to provide asylum seekers with safe passage to the EU was tantamount to genocide.

Tensions erupted between Italy and France recently over a crisis that saw hundreds of refugees blocked at the border between the two countries.

Read more on:    eu  |  matteo renzi  |  italy

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