Italy saved Europe's honour on migrants - Juncker

Alfano, Italy proud of migrant rescue work

05 May, 18:33

    Jean-Claude Juncker Jean-Claude Juncker

    FLORENCE - Italy has "saved Europe's honour" on migrant rescue and reception, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told The State of the Union conference in Florence Friday. "So we must show solidarity with both Italy and Grece which are not responsible for their geographical position. They are where they are and we have to take that into account," he said.
    "Faced with the consequences of the migratory flow, the European Council took a decision by qualified majority, but there is a certain number of member countries that do not accept this decision: if Europe starts not respecting legal norms in this field, we will be lost," Juncker went on in reference to countries that have refused to take in their share of migrants.
    "I'd like a certain number of member States to understand: it's a question here of putting into practice, and translating into law, the idea we have of Europe and humanity. You can't say 'we won't let coloured men and women enter our territory, or who aren't Catholics: that does not belong to the real nature of Europe". 

    Italy is "proud" of its migrant rescue work in the Mediterranean, Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said at the conference. Alfano added that "Mediterranean challenges are an opportunity for common (EU) defence".
    The EU must try to place the citizen "at the centre of the European agenda", he added. Alfano also said that it would be a "mistake" to consider the EU's "conquests" as "irreversible". "The challenge is to save Europe, and we are ready," he said.

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