Don't run down Italy's refugee effort, angry Renzi tells EU boss

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 15, 2015 8:59 PM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi made an unusual personal attack on a top EU official on Friday, accusing European Council President Donald Tusk of slighting the Italian people in remarks about refugees.

Leaving a Brussels summit that Tusk had chaired, Renzi was asked by reporters about comments last week in which the former Polish prime minister bracketed Italy with Hungary as member states which had broken EU rules on handling migrants.

"What President Tusk said showed little respect for the efforts of the Italian people," Renzi said, adding that Italy, which has taken in large numbers for many years, had given "lessons in civilization and generosity" to other EU countries.

Italian diplomats said Tusk's criticism was particularly wounding in associating Italy with Hungary, whose right-wing government has built razor-wire fences to keep migrants out.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Jan Strupczewski and Alastair Macdonald)