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article imageItaly's anti-migrant swipe prompts Luxembourg outburst

By AFP     Sep 14, 2018 in World

An abrasive intervention from Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini at an EU meeting on Friday resulted in an undiplomatic outburst from Luxembourgish Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn.

In a video shared on his Facebook account, Salvini takes issue with an idea he said was expressed by Asselborn, namely that Europe needed immigration because of its ageing population.

"I have a totally different view. I am in government, paid by my fellow citizens, in order to encourage our own young people to have children... and not to uproot the best of Africa's young people," Salvini is seen telling the meeting of EU interior ministers in Vienna, which was closed to the press.

"In Italy we feel it's necessary to help our children make more children. And not to have new slaves to replace the children we're no longer having," he went on.

In the foreground of the video, Asselborn, seated two places down from Salvini, exclaims: "That's going too far!"

Unfazed, the Italian interior minister continued: "If you in Luxembourg need more immigration, I prefer to keep Italy for Italians and that we start having children again."

Asselborn, visibly agitated, interrupted Salvini at this point.

"In Luxembourg, sir, we have dozens of thousands of Italians! They came as migrants, they worked in Luxembourg so you in Italy would have money for your children," he said, adding "merde alors (goddammit)!".

"Someone with good manners would have let me finish talking," said Salvini, who continued his contribution by attacking people smugglers.

He later shared the episode in a gleeful Facebook post, noting that Asselborn "hadn't taken it well".

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