France vs Italy over refugees

After a tug of war over responsibilities, France has allowed the migrant rescue ship Ocean Viking to dock in Toulon. Paris had insisted that Italy comply with maritime and international laws according to which it must allow the refugees to disembark, and suspended plans to take in 3,500 migrants from Italy by next summer. But despite the pressure, Italy refused to allow the ship into its ports.

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Avvenire (IT) /

Childish and irresponsible

If it were not a matter of life and death, this dispute would have to be dismissed as childish, Avvenire laments:

“The threats and the sounds that are being exchanged on both sides of the Alps are more akin to two bad boys shouting in each other's faces than to the mature and responsible behaviour that one would expect from the governments of two great countries. ... Our government is acting in a way that is profoundly wrong and unnecessarily cruel. ... At the same time, Paris's behaviour is anything but politically appropriate.”

La Stampa (IT) /

A senseless move that leaves Italy isolated

The productive collaboration with the EU built up by Mario Draghi is being sabotaged, La Stampa complains:

“Paris is accusing us, Berlin is joining in and the EU is freezing us out. It took just one week for the beautiful pro-European intentions of the right-wing government to be shattered. A disastrous Guinness record that ends the era of peace ushered in under Mario Draghi and opens up an era of stonewalling. It is difficult to understand what the patriotic advantage is supposed to be for all of us who are inevitably dependent on the possibility of receiving aid from Brussels. ... Inflation, war, pandemic. On the basis of what criterion does someone decide to get into a pointless confrontation over a handful of people who are destroying our relations with Macron and angering von der Leyen?”

Le Figaro (FR) /

Mired in contradictions

Paris clearly doesn't know what kind of migration policy it wants, criticises Le Figaro:

“How can you accuse a Rassemblement National deputy who spoke out in parliament against letting the Ocean Viking dock in France of racism and then a week later push back this very ship with every means possible, as Emmanuel Macron and [Interior Minister] Gérald Darmanin tried to do? And how can the government be intransigent on deportations yet at the same time aim to simplify the distribution of residence permits to help employment sectors suffering from a lack of manpower? All this conveys the impression of neither determination nor humanity but amateurish politics.”

Libération (FR) /

The wrong approach to the refugee debate

Libération complains:

“As is often the case with such matters, one hears simplistic answers to a complex issue. It would be better to invoke the equally simple values of humanity and hospitality of which France and Europe are officially so proud. Clearly, the head of state must also take into account the tensions in public opinion, but he must also - and in this case above all - map out a path that will allow us to look at ourselves in the mirror without shame in a few years' time. It must be stated without naivety that a country like France will not be overrun by a wave of refugees; unless we want to pave the way for the discourses of exclusion that the far right has been endlessly repeating for years and that have severely corrupted the public debate.”