Italy’s FURY: Populist leaders still waiting for an apology from France’s Macron

UN:

UN: "Shameful" handling of migrant ship shows need for EU asylum reform

Salvini, who is also deputy premier and the leader of the anti-immigrant League party, called on France to apologise and said he was not prepared to take criticism from a country which regularly stopped migrants on their shared border.

Speaking to the senate Salvini said "he hoped for an official apology as soon as possible", from France.

Visiting western France, Macron initially did not respond to questions on the issue, but later told reporters: "We must never give in to emotions, which some people manipulate".

The Aquarius has no showers or sinks for migrants on the ship, and the rescue workers rely on disinfectant spray to use for people's hands before their meals. Spain finally granted the boat permission to dock in Valencia.

The U.N. refugee agency's chief, Italian national Filippo Grandi, told Reuters it was "shameful" that two European countries refused to take in vulnerable migrants.

It comes amid an ongoing diplomatic row after several countries failed to live up to a 2015 pledge to take some asylum seekers from Italy and Greece, which have become the first port of call for most migrants entering Europe.

"We're doing a lot but it's true: Europe must do more and must do better to help Italy", she said.

More than 1.8 million people have entered Europe irregularly since 2014 and Italy is now sheltering some 170,000 asylum seekers.

"We hope this meeting will be able to take place very quickly", he said in a ministry statement.

"The minister #GiovanniTria has cancelled his meeting with the French Minister of the Economy and Finance (Bruno) #LeMaire", his ministry said on Twitter. At the same time, the Aquarius vessel of the aid group SOS Mediterranee continued its days' long westward voyage to Spain, where it was rerouted after Italy and Malta refused it entry.

Italy recalled its French ambassador after Macron's comments.

It added that Italy was waiting for French to take action to "heal the situation that has been created".

Ahead of an European Union summit at the end of June, both leaders agreed that "new initiatives" were needed to handle Europe's migrant crisis, the statement said.

Under the EU's asylum laws - now the subject of revision amid a major political dispute - migrants must apply for asylum in the country where they first enter Europe.

After meeting in Berlin, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer echoed Salvini. He declared his support for Kurz's proposal for a three-way "axis of the willing" with Italy to fight illegal migration.

But the talks were delayed as both countries traded barbs over the fate of more than 600 migrants rescued off the Libyan coast on the weekend.

Meanwhile, an Italian coastguard ship carrying more than 900 migrants was allowed to dock in Sicily on Wednesday.

Lt. Cmdr. Zachary Harrell, a USA 6th Fleet spokesman, said discussions were ongoing Thursday evening, two days after the Trenton rescued the survivors and also spotted 12 "unresponsive" people in the sea.

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