‘Arrogant’ France could become main enemy on migration issues: Italy

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech in Quimper, France, June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Vastavam web: Italy on Saturday said “arrogant” France risked becoming its “No.1 enemy” on migration issues, a day before European leaders convene in Brussels for a hastily arranged meeting on the divisive topic.In answer to comments by French President Emmanuel Macron, who said migration flows towards Europe had reduced compared with a few years ago, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said Macron’s words showed he was out of touch.

“Italy indeed faces a migration emergency and it’s partly because France keeps pushing back people at the border. Macron risks making his country Italy’s No.1 enemy on this emergency,” Di Maio wrote on his Facebook page.“The reality is that Europe is not experiencing a migration crisis of the same magnitude as the one it experienced in 2015,” the French president said.

“A country like Italy has not at all the same migratory pressure as last year. The crisis we are experiencing today in Europe is a political crisis.”But Italy’s Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said his country had faced 650,000 arrivals by sea over the past four years, 430,000 asylum requests and the hosting of 170,000 “alleged refugees” for an overall cost of more than 5 billion euros ($5.8 billion).Macron also said France favoured financial sanctions for EUcountries that refuse migrants with proven asylum status.

“You can’t have countries that massively benefit from the solidarity of the European Union and that massively voice their national selfishness when it comes to migrant issues,” he added, in a clear hint to Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, which oppose the EU relocation scheme for asylum seekers.