Sunday, 22 July, 2018


Italy summons French envoy as migration row escalates

Conrad Doyle | 14 June, 2018, 04:14

Italy summoned France's envoy on Wednesday and angrily rejected French criticism of its immigration policies, escalating a diplomatic standoff that is widening one of Europe's main political fault lines.

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

"We have nothing to learn about generosity, voluntarism, welcoming, and solidarity from anyone", Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini told the Senate. He also said that in the five months to the end of May this year France had sent back to Italy 10,249 migrants who had crossed their common border.

The Aquarius, carrying no fewer than 600 rescued sea migrants, was turned away from Italian ports on Sunday, as the Rome government suggested Malta should instead take it in.

Euronews correspondent Anelise Borges is on board the vessel, which is expected to arrive in Valencia in four days.

Under EU rules, migrants must apply for asylum in the European nation where they first arrive. Salvini's League scored its best election result in March elections after pledging to deport an additional estimated 500,000 unregistered migrants.

Sophie Beau said Wednesday in a news conference in Marseille, France, "it's a relief for everyone, our teams and of course above all for the survivors to know that they are finally allowed to head to a safe port in Europe".

The office of Finance Minister Giovanni Tria confirmed Wednesday's meeting with Bruno Le Maire had been scrapped.

"Spain wants to report us, France says I'm "nauseating". Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said France was "fully aware of the burden that the migration pressure is placing on Italy" and that it was committed to cooperating with Rome on immigration.

But Italy's foreign minister, Enzo Moavero, kept up the barrage by telling a French envoy that Macron's comments were "unjustifiable" and had compromised bilateral relations.

After meeting in Berlin, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer echoed Salvini.

But there was also criticism from Spain, despite its gesture of solidarity. "We hope this meeting can take place very soon".

The German chancellor, who is working to pull together a Europe-wide deal on redistributing asylum seekers and find a more lasting solution to illegal migration involving enhanced controls along the European Union's external border, has dismissed the plan as in breach of EU law.

An Italian coast guard vessel has docked in Sicily with more than 900 migrants aboard, evidence that Italy's new anti-migrant government is still taking in some asylum-seekers but is forcing the rest of Europe to accept others.

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