France and Italy meet over migrant issue

Italy and France try to patch things up over migrant issue


There were positive tones from French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna following the recent tension over migrants, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said. The two met at an EU foreign affairs council in Brussels on Monday to discuss the migrant issue.

Tajani said Italy requested a joint meeting of EU foreign and interior ministers on the migrant issue. This followed a diplomatic row over a French NGO rescue ship.

“The tones were positive” with Colonna, Tajani said. He added “the words of Mattarella and Macron were clear: we don’t want to start a row with France and Germany”.

Italy will assess the issue of NGO run migrant rescue ships heading for Italy on a case-by-case basis.

“It is not that there is a rule. NGOs must respect certain rules, we must see case by case, each fact is different from the other,” he told reporters. “You have to gather the information and see in detail.

“As far as relocation agreements are concerned, we are sticking to maintaining the rules whilst waiting for better rules,” he added.

Italy has said that some NGO ships break international law.

Migrant issue is EU issue

Tajani told his EU counterparts the migrant issue was European problem.  

“Italy put the problem of migration on the table. It’s a European problem, not one for Italy or France (alone),” Tajani told reporters after the ministerial meeting.

“I reiterated that for us the problem must be faced at an EU level”. He added: “The tones today were not ones of fracture. I think there was a will by all to try to find a European solution”.

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