France Angry at Italian Migrant Policy but Italy Pushes Back

France called Italian migrant policy “irresponsible” because they wouldn’t accept a migrant “rescue” ship.

Italy has a new populist government that promises a new Italian migrant policy. They’ve already taken action in that direction only to be condemned by the French government. Italy is not willing to hear it and is demanding an apology.

This whole scheme of “rescuing” migrant boats off the coast of Libya and then bringing them to Europe rather than returning them to Libya sounds like a cover for human trafficking. How do these “rescue” ships just happen to have space for hundreds of migrants and just happen to be sailing off the Libyan coast?

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AFP reports, “Italy, France tensions spiral over rejected migrant ship.

Italy postponed high-level talks with France on Wednesday after Paris branded Rome irresponsible for refusing to take in a migrant rescue ship.

Italy’s new economy minister postponed a meeting with his French counterpart in Paris as their countries traded barbs over the treatment of more than 600 migrants rescued off the Libyan coast at the weekend.

The migrants were stranded on the Aquarius vessel until Spain said the ship could land at its port of Valencia. […]

French President Emmanuel Macron accused Italy’s new populist government of “cynicism and irresponsibility” for closing its ports to the 629 migrants.

Rome called his comments “unacceptable” and summoned France’s ambassador on Wednesday.

“Such statements are undermining relations between Italy and France,” Italy’s foreign ministry said in a statement.


In a speech in the western French town of Mouchamps, he insisted that France was “working hand in hand with Italy” to handle migration.


Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini had suggested that a planned meeting between the leaders of the two countries should be cancelled if France did not issue an “official apology”.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Macron are due to hold talks on Friday ahead of a European summit focussing on migration.

“If an official apology doesn’t arrive, Prime Minister Conte would be right not to go to France,” Salvini told reporters.

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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