(CNN)The European Commission has dismissed Italy's threat to withhold funding to the bloc next year unless other member states accept migrants currently held on a ship moored in Sicily.
EU says it won't reply to Italy's 'threats' over migrants
Alexander Winterstein, a spokesman for the European Commission, told reporters Friday that the EU "operates on rules, not threats," and urged all parties involved to "work constructively together to find a solution for the persons on board in the spirit of good cooperation."
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte later responded, slamming the EU for "hypocrisy" in a Facebook post.
Italian Coast Guard ship Ubaldo Diciotti picked up 190 migrants on August 15 from an overcrowded boat 17 miles from the island of Lampedusa after they were refused entry to Malta. Of those, 13 people suffering serious medical issues were taken to Lampedusa for treatment.
On Wednesday, an Interior Ministry spokesman told CNN, an additional 27 unaccompanied minors were allowed to disembark, leaving 150 adult migrants stuck aboard the vessel, which has been docked in the port of Catania since Monday. Italian authorities cited "humanitarian reasons" for allowing the children to go ashore.
The Interior Ministry said that all those remaining on the ship are being supplied with food and medical aid and none are in critical condition. The country's hardline interior minister, Matteo Salvini, has refused to allow disembarkation until he has been given assurances that other countries will take the migrants.
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said in a video posted to Facebook on Thursday that if other EU countries didn't agree to take in the migrants after a European Commission meeting on Friday then Italy would stop making payments to the EU.