In his latest fit of pique, Il Duce Silvio Berlusconi said Italy was ready to block the European Council if members of the European Commission or their spokespersons continued to make statements on matters regarding member states. "My position will be clear and precise: we will not give our vote, thus blocking the function of European Council, unless it is clear that no commissioner or their spokesperson can speak in public about any issue''.
All this because Dennis Abbott, a spokesman for EC Vice President Jacques Barrot, said on Monday that letters had been sent to Italy and Malta asking for details on an incident regarding 75 African migrants intercepted at sea and sent back to Libya Sunday. If the man can't stand people asking questions of his racist government's treatment of migrants then maybe he should resign and join a monastery. Not that they would have him, given his current standing with the Catholic Church!
The Italian government have been on the offensive recently, together with Greece and, in a rare show of unity, Malta calling on the rest of the EU to bear their 'fair share' of the 'burden' of the costs of policing 'illegal' migration into Europe via the Mediterranean. In response, the EU has unveiled a 'Joint EU Resettlement Programme', which it claims is aimed at discouraging 'illegal' immigrants by increasing its granting of refuge to migrants from the world's conflict zones. The EU accepted just 6.7% of the 65,596 refugees granted asylum last year.
Yet this is not quiet what the Italians were hoping for when the idea was announced last month. They were clearly expecting the plans to include proposals for an internal EU 'relocation' policy that would amke othe EU states take their 'share' of the migrants entering Europe via the Mediterranean countries. At the time Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini appeared to be somewhat placated by the possibility of new 'burden-sharing' proposals. After claiming that the money involved to spread the impact was ''peanuts" and that it was a ''problem of public opinion'', not financial issues, that was behind the EU members' reluctance to help so far, he grudging claimed that Italy would seek ''mediation rather than clashes'', at the planned discussion of current EU immigration policy to be held during the Foreign Ministers meeting at the end of October. He spoilt it a bit by saying that "the veto bomb will not be dropped, unless it is necessary," i.e. unless Italy gets its way.