Italian Deputy Prime Minister Louigi Di Maio confirmed that Italy would cut its contributions to the EU budget after the lack of common EU decision at a meeting in Brussels. The main topic of discussion was the fate of migrants blocked in a ship in the Mediterranean Sea near the coast of Sicily.

He accused Brussels of “turning back” to Italy and stressed that his country has no other choice but “to take a compensatory measure unilaterally” – reducing contributions to the budget of the European Union.

Italy is the third largest net importer to the EU budget after Germany and France, meaning that it gives more than it receives. The financial map is a novelty in the tactics of negotiations between a Member State and Brussels. So far, there has been no such precedent. The Lisbon Treaty enshrines the obligation for the states to pay their membership contributions each month. Contributions shall be determined according to the size of each country’s national economy.

However, Brussels does not want to risk and understand how far Italy is ready to go with its new position. Therefore, in response, the European Commission has threatened to charge the country with penalty interest if it stops paying its contributions to the EU budget.

In the conflict indirectly intervened the UN, askng from Rome to order the approval for landing of all migrants who are blocked on the ship, while at the same time invited Europeans to adopt these people urgently.

This case has created a controversy between Rome and Brussels at a time when the new Italian populist government has increased pressure on other EU member states to share more the responsibility for the reception of migrants arriving through the Mediterranean.

By the end of July 2018, 18 000 migrants arrived in Spain, while Italy ranks second with 17 800 people. Madrid also begins a change in its course with regard to the migration issue. It instantly repatriated 116 migrants, who moved through the border fence in the Spanish autonomous city Ceuta (sharing a 6.4km land border with Morocco). So far, migrants have ever been relying to be transferred on Spanish territory.