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Oct 26, 2016

Italy threatens to veto EU budget over central Europe's immigration stance

Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that the Italian prime minister “completely misunderstands the situation"

Italy's Prime Minister has threatened to veto the EU’s budget over a lack of solidarity from Central European member states, several news outlets have reported today.

Italian PM Matteo Renzi said that the members states of central Europe, including Hungary, are not pulling their weight as Italy continues to struggle under the migrant crisis.

“We give 20 billion euros to Europe so that we can get back 12 — and if Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia want to preach at us about immigrants, allow Italy to say that the system is no longer working,” Renzi told RAI 1 television. “[We are] absolutely" ready to use Italy’s veto power to threaten the EU’s budget, he said.

Renzi also commented on Hungary’s anti-migration border fence and central European countries who have refused to take in immigrants. “If you build walls against immigrants, you can forget about seeing Italian money. If the immigrants don’t go there, the money won’t go there either," Renzi said.

Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that the Italian prime minister “completely misunderstands the situation".

“The Central European countries are entitled to receive EU funds, it is granted by the EU law," he explained. As part of their EU accession in 2004, Central European member states have opened their markets for Western companies, including Italian ones, which realize a huge profit in this region,

“Matteo Renzi slams the Central European countries, which comply with the common EU regulations, while Italy fails to fulfill its Schengen duties," Szijjártó said, adding that “if Italy could protect its own borders, the migrant pressure on the European Union would be smaller.”