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Italy threatens to suspend EU funding if no deal to take in migrants

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By Reuters
Italy threatens to suspend EU funding if no deal to take in migrants
FILE PHOTO: Italian Minister of Labor and Industry Luigi Di Maio speaks at the Italian Business Association Confcommercio meeting in Rome, Italy, June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile/File Photo   -   Copyright  Tony Gentile(Reuters)

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Thursday that his party would vote to suspend funding to the European Union next year if partners do not agree to take in migrants now being held on a coast guard ship in Sicily.

“If tomorrow nothing comes out of a European Commission meeting on redistributing migrants from the Diciotti ship, the 5-Star and I will not be willing to give 20 billion euros (£18 billion) each year to the EU,” Di Maio said in a video posted on Facebook.

Three days after Italy’s Diciotti coast guard vessel docked in Catania, 150 adult migrants remained on deck. After hundreds of thousands of sea arrivals in recent years, Italy wants other EU countries to shoulder more of the burden of welcoming them.

(Reporting by Steve Scherer, editing by Valentina Za)