EU on brink: Furious Italian minister demands change – ‘Europe will collapse’

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Brussels’ response to the coronavirus crisis, which has shutdown the entire continent, has sparked fury in Italy, with the nation’s foreign minister Luigi Di Maio warning the “EU spirit could be lost”. It comes as countries across Europe cautiously move to reopen their borders, but warn they will shut out visitors from countries that have suffered high numbers of COVID-19 cases.

And on Friday, Greece said it would open its borders from just 29 countries, excluding Italy, Spain and Britain.

Mr Di Maio lashed out at the move and warned Italy would “not remain silent”.

He wrote on Facebook: “We need a common European response to the crisis or Europe will collapse.

“We are not a quarantine hospital, we demand respect.

“These days I have heard a lot about Italy.

“It is not the time to create controversy, but I want to say one thing clearly: we demand respect.

“We must always measure words and actions.

“If anyone thinks of treating us like a quarantine hospital, we will not remain silent.

“We need a common European response because if we act in different ways, the EU spirit is lost. And Europe collapses.

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“Patience has a limit, I understand the competition between individual States, it is legitimate, provided that it is healthy and fair.

“Because there is a fact that I proudly claim: Italy is beautiful, unique, it has fantastic beaches. And most likely it has no rivals.”

Mr Di Maio revealed he would attend meetings in Germany on June 5 and in Slovenia on June 6 and in Greece on 9 where he would explain that Italy has “nothing to hide” and will be open from June 15.

He added: “In these meetings I will explain to my colleagues that Italy is ready from June 15 to receive foreign tourists and that we will act with the utmost transparency.

“The internal situation and all the data on infections will always be public. We do not accept blacklists and we have nothing to hide, on the contrary.

“We have always acted with responsibility and transparency and we will continue to do so.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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