"Victory" in all caps, and with an exclamation mark. That's how the Italian prime minister, Matteo Salvini, has celebrated that the boat Aquarius, with 629 refugees on board, will finally dock in Valencia, after he refused to let its passengers disembark in Italy. "629 immigrants on board the boat Aquarius heading for Spain, first objective achieved!", tweeted the far-right politician. He closed the tweet with a hashtag reading "let's close the ports".
VITTORIA!— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) 11 de junio de 2018
629 immigrati a bordo della nave Aquarius in direzione #Spagna, primo obiettivo raggiunto! #chiudiamoiporti pic.twitter.com/dNmLyNRaVo
In a press conference following the Spanish government's announcement, Salvini said that "politely raising your voice works" and celebrated having opened "a new debate for a new migration policy at a continental level". "For the first time in my memory, a boat coming from Libya destined for Italy will dock at a port in a country which isn't Italy and that's a sign that something is changing," he said. The prime minister argued that Rome cannot continue "supporting this enormous burden alone". "If we hadn't stopped it, tomorrow we'd have found the same thing".
Salvini said that, thanks to the Spanish government's offer, this Monday marks a "new start" and talked of building a "new Europe".
He also said that Italy will play a "leading role" which it comes to EU security and that he hopes his government's objective will be the same as Austria's. The Austrian prime minister, Sebastian Kurz, said last week that his government, a coalition between conservatives and the far-right, will prioritise security and borders during its period as president of the EU Council, to start on 1st July.