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Judicial investigation won't stop me says Salvini

BUSINESS
Judicial investigation won't stop me says Salvini

Photo: AFP

The government will continue to fight migration to Europe, despite the probe launched by Sicilian prosecutors of a recent diplomatic incident involving nearly 200 migrants who were stranded for over a week aboard an Italian coastguard rescue vessel, hardline interior minister Matteo Salvini vowed on Tuesday.

"We will continue to do what we have been doing until now," Salvini told reporters after an hour-long meeting in Milan with far-right Hungarian premier Viktor Orban.

"They can launch judicial probes, but that won't stop me at all, or make me change my mind," Salvini underlined.

Prosecutors from the Sicilian city of Agrigento on Saturday put Salvini under investigation for the potential abuse of office, kidnapping and illegal detention of the 177 migrants, who spend four days in the Mediterranean and a further six days at the port of Catania aboard the Italian coastguard ship Diciotti on Salvini's orders.

The migrants stuck aboard the Diciotti were allowed to disembark on Saturday after Ireland, Albania and the Italian Catholic Church agreed to take most of them, ending the ten-day standoff which had drawn criticism at home and abroad.

Salvini has set a goal of zero migration to Italy while Orban, who Salvini on Tuesday called his "hero" has refused to cooperate with any EU plans to redistribute migrants from arrival countries in southern Europe, notably Italy and Greece.

The Italian government has threatened to veto the next European Union budget in retaliation at the bloc's failure to collectively manage migration. Salvini and Orban are reportedly working on a blueprint focused on halting migration and to bolstering border security which they plan to present to the EU.

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