Italy’s fiery deputy prime minister has again clashed with EU leaders, earning a vulgar rebuke from Luxembourg’s foreign minister over his views on immigration.
Matteo Salvini was addressing a migration conference in Vienna on Friday and outlined his opposition to Italy accepting any more migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean from Libya and Tunisia.
He said he was totally opposed to the view, espoused by some European leaders, that with ageing populations, EU nations need to accept more migrants.
“Maybe in Luxembourg they need to do this, but in Italy we need to help people have more children, rather than bring in modern-day slaves (from Africa) to replace the children we're not having," Salvini said.
The remark provoked the irritation of Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s foreign minister, who was sitting close by and started mumbling “Blah, blah, blah.”
Mr Salvini asked the minister if he could be allowed to finish his address, but Mr Asselborn, who is also Luxembourg’s minister for immigration and asylum, lost his patience and interjected in French.
“In Luxembourg, sir, we have welcomed thousands of Italians who came to work in our country, as migrants, so that you in Italy had money for your children.”
He finished with the words “Merde, alors”.
The transcript is as follows:
Matteo Salvini: "I hear some of my colleagues saying that Europe needs immigrants because its population is ageing, but I have a completely different perspective. I think I am in government, paid by our citizens, to help our young people to start having those children again, as they did a few years ago, and not to take the best of the African youth to replace Europeans who are no longer having children for economic reasons. These are two completely different worldviews, maybe in Luxemburg there is this need, in Italy we feel this need to help our children to have children and not the need to have new slaves to relpace the children we no longer have. So, we are willing to engage in dialogue with everyone....."
Jean Asselborn [interrupts]: "Hey there, hey there, that's going too far."
Salvini [responding]: ""I calmly respond to your point of view that it is not my own ....... If you need new immigration in Luxembourg, in Italy I prefer to help Italians to start having children again."
Jean Asselborn [interrupts]: "In Luxembourg, we had tens of thousands of Italians! They came as migrants, they worked in Luxembourg, so that you in Italy would have the money for your children, damn it!"
Salvini: "Good manners involve letting someone finsh what they were saying."
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