Juncker thanks Italy for ‘saving the face of Europe’ despite growing RESENTMENT towards EU
European Commission president Juncker thanked the Southern European country for playing a major role as first responders during the migrant crisis.
During his State of the Union speech, Mr Juncker said: “In the summer months, the Commission worked in harmony with the Prime Minister, my dear friend Paolo Gentiloni, and his Government.
“We did it and continue to do it because, in the Mediterranean, Italy is saving the honour of Europe.
“I can’t talk about migration without a heartfelt homage to Italy for its perseverance and its generosity.”
Despite the appreciation from Mr Juncker, resentment against the EU in Italy exploded over the summer.
Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni blasted Brussels for failing to offer the necessary support to help Italy handle the migrant crisis.
He said: “There needs to be a larger European effort.
“It needs to intervene to help manage the migrant emergency to support Italy.”
Over the past six years, Italy welcomed 181,436 in 2016 alone.
Italian Socialist & Democrats leader Gianni Pittella thanked Mr Juncker for his homage but said the EU needs to do more.
He said: “We need to have a proper cohesion policy.”