Italian Minister Cancels France Trip After Migrant Ship Row

Italy Summons French Envoy After Macron Blasts Refusal to Accept Migrant Ship

Italy Summons French Envoy After Macron Blasts Refusal to Accept Migrant Ship

Salvini has accused European aid groups of essentially operating taxi services for Libya-based human traffickers, and has said Italy will now refuse their rescue ships entry.

"We have nothing to learn about generosity, voluntarism, welcoming, and solidarity from anyone", far-right Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini told the Senate.

Speaking to the senate Salvini said "he hoped for an official apology as soon as possible", from France.

A boat full of migrants trying to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean sea.

But earlier, Italy's foreign ministry warned that relations had been compromised by France's public criticism that Italy's decision to refuse entry to the migrant ship Aquarius had been "cynical" and irresponsible.

On Wednesday morning, an Italian coast guard vessel with 937 migrants and two bodies aboard docked in Catania, Sicily, while the Aquarius headed into increasingly rough seas on its way to Valencia, where it is due to arrive on Saturday.

United Nations refugee chief Filippo Grandi urged the European Union on Wednesday to sort out its "shameful" refugee policy after both Italy and Malta turned away a ship carrying hundreds of migrants. "After the refusal of Malta to allow the people aboard the Aquarius to disembark there, we received an unprecedented gesture of solidarity from Spain".

Macron's office said Tuesday that France doesn't want to "start a precedent" that would allow some European countries to breach worldwide laws and rely on other EU member states to take in migrants.

Under EU rules, migrants must apply for asylum in the European nation where they first arrive.

Yet Slovakia's premier insisted that "we refuse to let migrants enter our country", a stance that could bring him into conflict with Italy's new leaders, who have called for the automatic, compulsory resettlement of migrants across all European Union countries.

France was to have accepted a total of 19,714 migrants from Italy and Greece; in all, it accepted 4,677.

According to the latest figures, around 7000 migrants are stranded in Serbia.

The number of migrants arriving in Italy began plummeting previous year after the Italian government under the centre-left Democratic Party negotiated controversial deals with Libya that beefed up its capacity to better patrol its coasts and discouraged land-based smugglers.

The migrants saved by the Aquarius, run by French NGO SOS Méditerranée, were stuck on the overloaded ship for over 30 hours as Italy and Malta bickered over who should take them, before Spain stepped in and offered the port in Valencia as a place for the migrants to land in Europe.

The furore comes after President Macron blasted Rome on Tuesday for closing its port to a ship with 629 migrants on board from attempting to enter the country.