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

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Salvini said France had taken in only a fraction of the 9,816 migrants it had pledged to welcome under a 2015 European Union relocation plan to relieve frontline countries Italy and Greece of the burden of caring for newly arrived migrants.

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

Salvini, who is also deputy premier and the leader of the anti-immigrant Lega party, called on France to apologise and said he was not prepared to take criticism from a country which regularly stopped migrants on their shared border.

"The visit was canceled at Italy's request, and we regret it", the French source said, adding France had a lot of ground to cover with newly-appointed Tria. Spain has offered to take it in and the ship is now on the dayslong voyage to Valencia.

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.

Euronews correspondent Anelise Borges is on board the vessel, which is expected to arrive in Valencia in four days.

Under the EU's asylum laws - now the subject of revision amid a major political dispute - migrants must apply for asylum in the country where they first enter Europe. Italy is now sheltering more than 170,000 asylum seekers, as well as an estimated 500,000 unregistered migrants.

Salvini's League scored its best-ever result in March national elections, partly on pledges to deport hundreds of thousands of migrants and halt the flow of newcomers, and has formed a coalition with the anti-system 5-Star Movement.

Sophie Beau said Wednesday in a news conference in Marseille, France, "it's a relief for everyone, our teams and of course above all for the survivors to know that they are finally allowed to head to a safe port in Europe".

Italy's new economy minister Giovanni Tria had been due to meet his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire in Paris Wednesday afternoon.

The French ambassador has been summoned to the Italian Foreign Ministry to explain his government's criticism of Italy's handling of the Aquarius migrant boat affair.

But Italy's foreign minister, Enzo Moavero, kept up the barrage by telling a French envoy that Macron's comments were "unjustifiable" and had compromised relations between the two countries.

Amid mounting cross-party concern that German asylum policy is in disarray, Seehofer, of the Bavarian conservative CSU party, met Austria's chancellor, Sebastian Kurz.

The vessel, run by charity organizations, was denied port entry also by Malta, and was eventually offered to dock in Spain.

The chancellor said migration represented a significant challenge for Europe when it was in a "very fragile situation". "Therefore I think that there must be many such kinds of cooperation, not just in this one direction".

Refugees have continued to arrive as politicians trade blame.

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