Meloni warns France for comments on immigration to Italy

The rag continues to burn between Paris and Rome. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, accused of being unable to solve her country’s migration problems, warned France on Monday against any “use” of Italy in domestic political problems.

“I would caution against using other countries to settle domestic political issues, because that’s something you don’t usually do,” she told reporters.

Meloni criticizes the double discourse of France

Stating that she had spoken with Emmanuel Macron the day before the declarations of the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin questioning his management of immigration, Giorgia Meloni considered that there was clearly a difference between the speech that the France held “in private and in public”. “It makes me think that this is a matter of French internal politics,” she commented.

The head of Italian diplomacy, Antonio Tajani, had already demanded an apology from Gérald Darmanin on Friday, whose comments on Giorgia Meloni’s inability to manage immigration caused a new crisis between Rome and Paris, which has since been trying to calm the game. The minister had even canceled Thursday evening his first visit to Paris, where he was to meet his counterpart Catherine Colonna, after the declarations of Gérald Darmanin accusing the Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of being “incapable of solving the migratory problems on which she was elected”.

To defuse the situation, Catherine Colonna quickly posted a message in Italian on Twitter, saying that “the relationship between Italy and France is based on mutual respect”. She immediately called Antonio Tajani.

A bout of fever in November

Immigration has been an extremely sensitive subject in Franco-Italian relations for years. In November, the two countries experienced a fever pitch when the Meloni government, barely in power, refused to allow a humanitarian ship from the NGO SOS Méditerranée to dock, which ended up being welcomed by France in Toulon with more than 200 migrants on board. The episode had angered Paris, which had called a European meeting so that this unprecedented scenario did not happen again.

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Since then, the number of clandestine crossings by boat has increased. According to the Italian Ministry of the Interior, more than 42,000 people have arrived via the Mediterranean in Italy this year compared to around 11,000 over the same period in 2022. Almost half of them come from French-speaking countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Tunisia, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Mali.

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