Tensions between France and Italy awaken European migration difficulties

France and Italy want a long-term European solution to respond to migratory difficulties. Paris and Rome have been at odds since last week over the fate of the ship Ocean Viking. The boat finally docked in Toulon where the 230 migrants survivors were able to dismount.

The Italian authorities had refused to open the country’s ports. The transalpine Minister of Foreign Affairs relayed this question during the meeting with his EU counterparts.

We have put the migration issue on the table, which is a European problem. It’s not a problem between Italy and France or between Italy and Germany. I was very clear, I specified that for us the problem must be studied and solved at Community level“, points out Antonio Tajani.

Italy requests the establishment of a code of conduct for boats owned by NGOs. With three other member countries around the Mediterranean: Greece, Malta and Cyprus, the Italian government has signed a letter requesting an effective mechanismfair and permanent way of sharing the European effort for migrants arriving by sea.

However, tensions between Paris and Rome seem to have eased since the phone call between the two presidents: Emmanuel Macron and Sergio Mattarella.

According to European and international law, all ships must disembark people rescued at sea in “the nearest place of safety”. A duty recalled by the European Commission. Italy’s failure to respect this commitment has angered France.

We denounce a unilateral decision, unacceptable aragmatic, ineffective and unjust, on the part of the current Italian government, which calls for European responses“, insists the spokesman of the French government, Olivier Véran.

In this context, France has suspended its relocation process asylum seekers arriving in Italy, a voluntary procedure set up since June between 18 Member States. In addition, Paris has reinforced its controls along the Italian border.

The European Commission is asking for an extraordinary meeting of the 27 interior ministers to take the discussions forward, but no date has yet been found.