Salvini slams Austria for blocking border crossing, threatens EU court case
The Italian government will take Austria before the EU court over its blocking of the Brenner crossing at the Italo-Austria border, said League leader and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, calling Austria’s move an ‘act of violence and political arrogance’.
Salvini has been denouncing Austria for blocking travel of Italian transporters to and through its territory and for recently announcing border checks at its Italian border to prevent the passage of irregular migrants who have been arriving in waves on Italian shores in recent weeks.
“After four years of inaction on the part of the European Commission, we have decided to formally activate the procedure provided for in Article 259 of the TFEU, which gives a member state the right to bring an action before the European Court of Justice against a member state for violating Euro-Union law”, Salvini said, stressing that this activity is generally the task of the EU Commission.
For Salvini, the Austrian government’s decision is an “act of violence and political arrogance” that must be put an end to with a “strong but necessary gesture” by the centre-right government led by Giorgia Meloni (Fratelli d’Italia/ECR), given that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen did not sign the initiation of the procedure against Austria.
“At this point, we trust in the justice of the European Court. The restrictions were introduced by Austria for environmental reasons on paper, but the environment has nothing to do with it. It is simply unfair Austrian competition against Italian and German entrepreneurs and hauliers and the entire European continent”, the minister clarified.
The Brenner Pass is one of the main junctions between southern and northern Europe, and Austria’s blocking of the border has also been criticised by neighbouring Germany, which has also been penalised by the limits imposed on transport.
“One cannot pontificate at Italy’s expense, seeking welcome and integration in Lampedusa while armouring the Brenner border. This government will put an end to this shame”, Salvini concluded.
Ahead of the June 2024 European elections, Salvini is increasingly spouting strong eurosceptic views in an attempt to regain the electorate lost in the last general election of September 2022 to Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who is instead heavily criticised for her poor record on mass irregular immigration after more than one year governing the country.
“By now, Salvini is in the rebellious teenager mode, spying on Mom (Meloni). We negotiate with the Commission on immigration and budget. And he attacks Von der Leyen. Giorgia Meloni, buy him an electric train and a Lego bridge. That’ll quiet the baby down”, commented Action leader Carlo Calenda (Renew) on X.
(Federica Pascale | Euractiv.it)