asylum seekers

Unwelcomed asylum seekers caught between France, Italy feud

A feud between France and Italy has left the fate of asylum seekers in the European continent hanging in the balance. 

What’s the feud about

France has shown displeasure over Italy’s recent refusal to take in migrants seeking entry into the country through unconventional means. The issue came to a head when Italy’s new right-wing government refused to take in asylum seekers aboard a ship (Ocean Viking) that has been trying to dock since last month. The feud between the neighbours is now threatening a European Union deal targeted at how the European nations collectively deal with asylum seekers. 

What’s in the deal? 

The European Union deal seeks to distribute asylum seekers more evenly among European nations. In reaction to Italy’s refusal to allow entry to migrants on the Ocean Viking ship, France said Thursday that it will take them in but withdraw from a general European Union plan. “France will take measures in coming hours to tighten border security with Italy and adjust bilateral relations accordingly”, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said, adding that “France deeply regrets that Italy did not accept to behave like a responsible European state”. 

On his part, Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi denounced the French decision as “totally incomprehensible.” According to Piantedosi, about 90,000 migrants had arrived in Italy this year alone, and in contrast, 13 European countries had agreed to take 8,000. Emphasizing the strain on Italy, Piantedosi said only 117 of the migrants have been resettled, 38 in France – a figure he described as “absolutely inadequate”. “European solidarity is being heralded, but Italy has so far faced this problem alone and our system of receiving is in very serious difficulty”, he said. 

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