Junior minister says Italy might drop energy cable to Sicily over migrants' row

Italian minister says differences with Malta on how to deal with migrants could see Italy drop underwater electricity cable project.

The Italian under-secretary for economic development Stefano Saglia has threatened Malta with the withdrawal of works on the Malta-Sicily electrical cable if the island doesn’t “play its part” on immigration.

Italian newspaper La Stampa reports Saglia saying that it is “obvious” that relations between Malta and Italy – after the controversial blockade by Italy at Lampedusa to asylum seekers saved by Malta – “must measure up to some reciprocal trust.”

Saglia added that Malta should play its part “or else risk putting up for discussion strategic, industrial and energy projects, starting from the submarine interconnector to Ragusa... it’s the only way they have to export energy, and for us it is actually irrelevant. We might change our idea on its realisation.”

Italy and Malta have clashed on who should rescue migrants fleeing North Africa, often in rickety, overloaded boats. On Friday, the UN refugee agency called for a better maritime rescue system.

Malta obtained €20 million of EU funds for the project, thanks to Italian support, and a technical working group between the Maltese network and Italy's electricity grid operator Terna has been set up, Saglia said.

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How childish of Italy. I expected better. What has the cable got to do with Immigrants? Mafiosi
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Queata e' una dichiarazzione di guerra forse?
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Luke Camilleri
INSULT GHAR REAZZJONIJIET "SUPPOST" tajba bejn malta u l-Italia. Theddida kontra Malta din u nipera min qal li ghandhu idejn sodi ma joqghodx idu fuq saqqu ghal insulti bhal dawn lejn il-pajjiz li suppost qieghed imexxi!
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These words do not make any sense. Italy is bound by the energy charter which both Malta and Italy signed. But if it comes to this, we could always ban the passing of the gas pipe which connects Italy to Libya. Italy will be at a loss here. Having said that I do not believe that this is the official stand of the Italian government. Italy and Malta should work together against the EU. The later is dragging it's feet to help us.
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Updated:An Italian Junior Minister and a Lega Nord MEP have made threats over Italy's involvement in the undersea power cable project with Malta in view of the row on illegal migrants. IL PAJJIZ U SIGURTA TAL MALTIN TIGI L-EWWEL U QABEL KOLLOX! NIFILHU NHALLSU TAXXI IKTAR HABBA DAWN IMMIGRANTI ILLEGALI. QEGHDIN NITKISSRU! TAKE A STAND DR GONZI! MA NISTGHUX NILQGHU L-IMMIGRANTI ILLEGALI KOLLHA AHNA! PERESS LI IT TALJANI MA JRIDUWOMX GO PAJJIZHOM U QEGHDIN JHEDDUNA BDAN IL CABLE. NINSEWH IL CABLE JEKK HEMM BZONN. MALTA MA TIFLAHX DAQSHEKK IMMIGRANTI ILLEGALI!
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Caro Ministro Saglia, Il vostro argomento e esattamente il pensiero di un mafioso. Tu sei un vergogna per il suo paiese. Questa non e il modo di trattare con un piccolo paiese come Malta, che gia fatto tanto per indirizzare questa problema di immigrazione illegale. Il vostro atteggiamento e di un codardo per minacciare il nostro paiese con l-interconnector link con l-europa. Percio' Caro Ministro Va Fan Cu_ _.
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l-aqwa li qeghdin mal-mejda tal-eu. prosit kmb u cni. malta ma ghadiex tal-maltin....l-aqwa l-concession taz-zejt li ghandhom it-taljani. x jimporta min qala dan l-inkwiet...l-aqwa li sarkozy jirsisti ghal voti u cmeron jirsisti ghax-shares tieghu. par idejn sodi mal-maltin u mat-taljnai nrattbuhom.
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As usuall what dose Italy want from Malta? Is it still mumming over the idea that we should have a reception center in Malta to host all illegal imigrants. Or you have something else in mind? Frist we are accused that we are shooting on imigrants which is not true, than we are accused that we are not abideing by international rules in takeing all in our search & rescue area, now we are being threathened that Italy could considering to stop the intercontintal connector between Malta & Main land Europe> Please why dont you play your cards on the table and discus your real intentions? What would Italy do if we happened to search for oil at the fringes of our search & rescue areas? Mr Italian Ambasodor please answer & Dr Carm please make your intentions clear once for all.
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One word fits them all: M A F I O S I
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The refusal by the Italian authorities in denying the disembarkation in Lampedusa of 171 illegal immigrants which were saved by the Maltese vessel P61, could be a strategy by the Italian government in order to discourage the landings of the illegal immigrants, by sending the message that Lampedusa, which is the gateway to Europe, is closed and that the only alternative is to go to Malta, where the illegal immigrants will be stranded for ever with the least possibility of ever leaving that island.
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Joseph Sant
L-ixkubetta fiha l-grillu u kulhadd jaghmel kif jaqbillu! Three cheers for EU solidarity.
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This Italian minister is behaving like Gaddafi. Blackmail and bullying. Corragio fugiamo.
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Kemm kienu jghidu ghal Mintoff: li kollox bil-kwiet kellu jkun! Aktar ma tkun paxu bhal GonziPN, aktar naqilghu fuq rasna! Ara ghal min eziljaw ruhhom dawk il-qabda Nazzjonalisti ta zmien il-gwerra...ghal 'italjanita' ta ruhhom! Nispera li tghallem xi haga Dr Gonzi: ghallinqas Carm Mifsud Bonnici took a leaf from Mintoff...u forsi jibdew jirrispetawna. Jew Unjoni f'kollox jew kulhadd jerga jmurr ghal rasu!
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Georgette Bezzina
As commented hereunder the Italian Government should think twice before considering taking this option. If they decide to stop us linking the interconnector we should reply in kind; and ask them to remove the gas pipeline which they laid in our teritorial waters. Incidentally we were never asked if we would like to make a connection to meet our energy needs.
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We are having these attacks not from some small time Italian TV presenter but now from government ministers. If I were leading the government of my country, I would throw away all the diplomacy out of the window. The Italians do not seem to care about diplomacy. I would stop immediately the arrangement of the interconnector as they would sure use it as a threat in the future. If we are to play this game alone then we play it alone. I would call the Italian ambassador immediately the first thing Monday morning and ask him to leave within 48 hours and close the embassy within a week and call back our ambassador from Rome and close the embassy. As we are members of the EU and we have the freedom of movement of goods, I can’t stop agents importing goods but I would strongly encourage people to boycott everything that is Italian. If the EU will continue to ignore us, I would ask my representatives and my ministers to oppose everything that the EU requires a unanimous vote. We can threat also and by be bullied by larger countries.
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What would you expect from a fascist inclined government. After all let's not forget that Berlusconi is all praise for the Dictator, and if one reads Mussolini's biography one would immediately see great similarities . Mussolini was also aiming at making Malta a part of Italy. And he had ample support here from different quarters !!. Fascist squadristi are still around it seems .
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This is sheer despicable bullying and blackmail. So much for European solidarity.
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@ROBIN HUUD How can we purchase the assets you are mentioning when they cost millions of Euro and this country is making both ends meet by rising the cost of fuel every month without the Government ever publishing the costings of Enemalta? Otherwise agree with your line of thinking!
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In order to protect our search and rescue zone, Malta must invest in naval assets such as armed patrol boats. It is useless having such a large area under one's control without having the means to protect and control it. If the EU does not want to share the burden of these migrants at sea then we have to take control of the situation. We have to protect our National Interests because no one else is going to. The message that must be sent to all and sundry that our intake of refugees or illegal immigrants is limited and that would be illegal immigrants should better think twice before they embark on perilous sea journeys. We should not succumb to any threats or bullying from any country.
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Simply blackmail by the long time friends of the PN! Any many and many of us (Maltese) like to kiss their arse.
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with friends like these......
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duncan abela
This behaviour clearly shows how principled and honest some ministers in Italy are in their foreign relations with their declared friends. We must perhaps be wary of some right wing politicians and elements in the Italian Navy on the Italian side who have long ago cast their eyes on our search and rescue zone and try to put us in difficulty each time an emergency immigrant situation arises which strains our very limited resources. If it is true that a junior italian minister placed the energy inter-connector iissue on the line, of course conveniently forgetting the gas pipeline though our waters than it is time we speak very clearly to Dr Frattini on his distancing his government from such irresponsible statements.