Far from leading to substantive reforms, Rome's new line risks deepening the rift in the EU
Stefano M. Torelli
Just days after its formation, the Italian government has become the protagonist of yet another heated debate on migration. Having caused a diplomatic crisis with Tunisia by claiming that “Tunisia exports convicts”, newly appointed Interior Minister Matteo Salvini declared on 9 June that he would prevent the Aquarius – a ship carrying 629 sub-Saharan African migrants rescued off the Libyan coast – from accessing Italian ports. Italy argued that responsibility for hosting the migrants fell on Malta, which rejected the claim on the grounds that the rescue took place in Libyan territorial waters under Italian oversight. In the day or so it took to resolve – with the Spanish government's decision to allow the Aquarius to dock in Valencia – the dispute produced a series of reactions and controversies.