EU tries to reconcile Italy and France in dispute over migrants

The European Commission is developing an emergency plan to resolve the escalation of tensions between Italy and France over the reception of migrants arriving by sea.

This was stated by Vice President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas in an interview with Politico.

According to him, the EU executive body initiated an extraordinary meeting of interior ministers to discuss the crisis and further steps. It should be convened by the Czech Republic, which holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union.

European Commission proposes that new rules for reception of asylum seekers apply to entire route

“We cannot allow two member states to publicly fight each other and create another political crisis over migration,” Schinas said.

He added that at the upcoming meeting, the European Commission “will try again to discuss … an action plan with concrete initiatives for the entire route” of migration in the Central Mediterranean.

The Vice-President of the European Commission proposes that the new rules for the reception of asylum seekers should apply to the entire route, including the movement of migrants from North African countries such as Tunisia and Libya.

“There is still something we need to do better. Our development and neighborhood assistance to countries of origin and transit is still not working as well as we would like. There are too many actors, too many legal grounds, and too many recipients. We need to focus our assistance better on development and helping our neighbors,” Schinas added.

Conflict sparked over humanitarian ship Ocean Viking with 234 migrants

As reported, on November 11, the humanitarian ship Ocean Viking with 234 migrants on board, including 57 children, docked in Toulon. Before that, the ship spent three weeks at sea because no port wanted to accept it – before France finally agreed to this step and criticised Italy for refusing.

Italy’s Prime Minister Meloni and France’s President Macron clashed over the crisis. Rome was outraged, saying Italy has already taken in tens of thousands of people this year and is suffering more than the rest of Europe’s Mediterranean countries.

France government’s decision is criticised by populist leader

However, France also faces an internal political battle on this issue. The leader of the right-wing populist national association Marine Le Pen criticized the government’s decision to accept a ship with rescued migrants in the port, which Italy did not want to let in. It is reported by Le Figaro.

“I think this is the beginning of a series of such humanitarian ships,” – Le Pen said, in addition accusing humanitarian ships of collaboration with groups that help people from poor countries to illegally enter Europe.

“It is necessary that the ships that pull out of danger migrants who are picked up at sea, take them to the point of departure,” Le Pen added.

She added that she does not see anything strange in Italy’s decision not to accept the ship, and in the place of the Italian government would have done the same.

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