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Italy renews migrant help plea at Vienna ministers meeting

Italy renews migrant help plea at Vienna ministers meeting
By Damon Embling
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"We write solidarity everywhere in Europe,,, it's a wonderful occasion to show it"


Italy's taken its demands for EU help with migrants rescued at sea to a meeting foreign ministers in Vienna.

It comes after Rome threatened to hold back European Union funds - an ultimatum rejected by Brussels.

"Certainly we insist on European governance of the migration flow. We think this is a genuine European responsibility. We write solidarity everywhere in Europe, we talk about it, well, it's a wonderful occasion to show it," said Enzo Moavero Milanesi, Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Earlier, EU defence ministers backed the continuation of the Sophia rescue and anti-trafficking mission in the Mediterranean.

"The problem of disembarkation goes for more than 90 percent regards issues that do not relate with Sophia. But we do need certainty on where we go in case that 9.6 percent of people rescued at sea by Sophia, where do we bring them," commented EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. 

Luxembourg proposed again mandatory relocation quotas for migrants and criticised the Austrian EU presidency.

Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Asselborn said: "We need mandatory quotas for every country, to stop this mystery we see with people on the boats. There are eight countries who took some people, eight from 28. And I have to tell you, I find that the presidency does not give a good example, if the presidency is not there."

The Austrian presidency is concentrated on one thing relating to migration, the protection of external borders.

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