Rome, France’s “hypocritical” President Emmanuel Macron should start letting migrants cross into his country and help share the burden placed on Italy, a leader of Italy’s ruling anti-migrant League party said on Tuesday.
“France should start studying the legal framework in which NGOs operate and open its borders.
“The era of hypocritical politics is over. Italy is tired of being the sole arrival point for thousands of immigrants. Macron needs to realise that the problem of immigration must be shared by all.
“Action not words are needed from European countries,” said League’s chief whip in the lower house of parliament Riccardo Molinari.
Macron and Italy’s populist government traded barbs last week after League chief and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini called Macron “arrogant” and said he should show “some concrete generosity by opening up France’s many ports and letting children, men and women through at Ventimiglia,” referring to the northwest Italian coastal town on the border with France.
Macron told reporters on Sunday that “France has no lessons to learn from anybody, we are the second country welcoming asylum seekers this year”.
Italy’s other Deputy Premier, Labour and Industry Minister and grassroots Five-Star Movement chief Luigi di Maio said on Saturday that France risked becoming its “Number 1 enemy” on the divisive issue of migration, after Macron said European cooperation had slashed migration flows towards Europe by nearly 80 percent in recent years.
“Italy indeed faces a migration emergency and it’s partly because France keeps pushing back people at the border,” Di Maio wrote on Facebook.
Macron has called for European cooperation on migration and measured to combat illegal immigration including buttressing borders. EU leaders will attempt to thrash out a Europe-wide migration policy at the European Council summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.