They come loafing all the way back to Italy. People who have tried to enter France from Italy. They stopped and were taken back to Ventimiglia, the Italian frontier town which had become a sort of assembly point for all emigrants who wished to go to France, or further afield, to Great Britain or Northern Europe.
A fierce exchange of words
The situation with enhanced French border controls has been ongoing since 2015, but has intensified in recent weeks since the new Italian government refused the Norwegian aid ship the Ocean Viking to dock and unload rescuers at sea. France took over the ship but responded with passport controls against Italy and for a few days the French police searched the gates of every car that crossed the border. With long lines and traffic chaos as a result.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni called the French government’s response “aggressive” and “unfair”. French Interior Minister Darmanin described the Italian government as “irresponsible”.
Now border traffic is flowing decently again, but the basic problem remains: Italy does not want to be solely responsible for all the people who come across the Mediterranean. France points out that Italy is violating international law and also believes that Italy is not doing its job by simply letting migrants into France – hence the beefed up border controls.
Crisis Plan of the European Union Commission
At the meeting in Brussels on Friday, EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson will present a crisis plan for migration in a bid to resolve the acute conflict. The content consists of 20 points where Johansson believes quick action is possible.
– She said in a short press conference on Monday that the situation at the moment is not sustainable.
This includes, among other things, that the border agency Frontex should quickly investigate the situation in the Mediterranean to see where additional support is needed. Another point is to quickly start targeted return efforts for people who do not have the right to remain in the EU.
– We must take into account that the vast majority of people who are now coming through the central Mediterranean are not in need of international protection, Johansson said.
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