13.06.2018 | Italy refuse to attend French migration meeting as Macronblasts 'irresponsible' Italians
Source - The Daily Express

On Sunday, Matteo Salvini, Rome’s new Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, blocked a ship carrying 629 migrants, including 123 unaccompanied children and seven pregnant women, from docking in Italy. Malta also refused to accept the Aquarius vessel operated by French charities Medicines Sans Frontiers and Sos Mediterranee, before Spain’s new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez instructed port officials to welcome the ship into Valencia. French President Emmanuel Macron, who had been criticised for not offering to take in the boat, reacted furiously to the latest staunch tactics from Italy on migration. Government spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux told a press conference on Tuesday that during a Cabinet meeting, Mr Macron denounced the “cynicism and irresponsibility of the Italian government”. His party’s spokesman Gabriel Attal went further, told Public Senat TV that “the line of the Italian government is nauseating”. He added: “The Italian position makes me vomit.” “It’s totally unacceptable to play petty politics with human lives as is happening now.” The Italian government hit back in a statement, saying: "Italy cannot accept hypocritical lessons from countries that in the migration field have always preferred to turn their head to the other side." As a result, Rome is now considering cancelling a summit between Mr Macron and new Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Friday. Mr Salvini tried to defuse tensions in a tweet where he said: "Spain wants to denounce us, France says that I’m ‘nauseating.’ I want to work calmly with everybody but with a principle: #firsttheitalians.” But Italy’s move has also won the backing of Hungary, which itself has taken a strong anti-migrant stance, building perimeter fences along its borders stretching dozens of miles. Speaking on Tuesday after a meeting with Slovak counterpart Peter Pellegrini, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Italy’s decision was a “great moment which may truly bring changes in Europe’s migration policies”. The latest row comes after the EU’s migration and home affairs chief Dimitris Avramopoulos warned Brussels the bloc "cannot afford another repetition of the immigration crisis from 2015", which saw more than one million migrant arrivals in the EU via the Mediterranean Sea. He said: "We shouldn’t allow migration to be a divisive element among us because unfortunately some positions taken by political parties in some governments are very worrying, not for the future of our migration policy but for the future of our common European home. "Because finally it is the migration crisis that has put in danger the European project so it’s a question not only of political responsibility but of historic responsibility for everyone to take part in our common effort to share the responsibility to achieve our goal." This year, more than 35,000 refugees have crossed the Mediterranean, with almost 800 thought to be dead or missing. Some 220 people a day leave North Africa on boats bound for popular European countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece.

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