The standoff continued on Monday between Italy and Malta over more than 600 migrants who are adrift aboard a rescue ship in the Mediterranean and waiting to find out if they will be allowed to dock in a port soon.
European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Monday that "the priority of both the Italian and Maltese authorities should be ensuring these people receive the care they need".
The move also created rifts with Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat who said the he was "worried about the direction taken by the Italian authorities" that according to him went against worldwide law.
Salvini, who also serves as Italy's interior minister, has promised to change immigration policies in Italy, saying the new Italian government's efforts will be aimed at guaranteeing peaceful lives for Africans in Africa and for Italians in their own country.
In the meantime some in Italy have offered to take in the migrants, with the mayor of Taranto, Rinaldo Melucci, saying that the Calabrian port city was "ready to embrace every life in danger".
Mayors across southern Italy say they're prepared to admit the migrants. "We're closing the ports". In particular, Salvini was calling out Malta for being less than thirty miles away and consistently refusing to accept any of these boat people who are rescued at sea.
Mr. Galietti said it is not known whether the agreement struck with Libya by the last Italian government to slow the flow of migrants will automatically transfer to the new Italian government.
Spain's new prime minister Pedro Sanchez informed Rome the ports of Barcelona and Valencia would open their doors to the Aquarius "by the end of the week".
But Malta and Italy - whose new populist government has vowed a tough new stance on immigration - have both refused to take the migrants in, triggering concern in the worldwide community about their plight.
On a recent visit to the southern port of Pozzallo where many migrants have been arriving, Salvini said Italy is a member of worldwide organizations such as the United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. In a video, she said: "People are slowly getting up and getting ready for their first meal and we are yet to learn which port they are going to be using to disembark".
As the rhetoric intensified, the Aquarius remained on standby in the Mediterranean Sea with its 629 passengers, including 123 unaccompanied minors. In 2013-2014, the operation Mare Nostrum was an Italian military rescue operation that saved around 150,000 migrants from drowning and cost about 10 million euros per month.
Italy has had to accept some 700,000 migrants since 2013, in line with the controversial Dublin Regulation requiring to declare refugee status in their first country of arrival. Salvini campaigned on an anti-immigrant platform that included a vow to expel hundreds of thousands of migrants already in Italy, even though experts doubt such mass deportations are feasible or financially viable.
Italy has always been a destination for migrants crossing the Mediterranean and has been dealing with a surge in arrivals in recent years.