Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte reacted angrily to the news that a European Union meeting in Brussels today failed to reach an agreement about what to do with 150 migrants on an Italian coast guard ship in the Sicilian port of Catania, the Ansa news agency reported. Conte threatened “consequences” and accused other European countries of ‘‘hypocrisy.’’
As an act of defiance to the EU, Italy’s populist government is refusing to let the migrants, mostly Eritrean nationals, disembark from the Diciotti ship they have been on for eight days since they were rescued off the coast of Libya.
Following the rescue operation, the ship was forced to wait at sea for five days before being told which port to go to. However, since the ship arrived in the port of Catania three days ago, the migrants have not been given permission to disembark. The Italian government is insisting that unless other EU countries come forward and offer to receive some of the migrants, Italy will not allow them to step on Italian soil.