Immigration: Macron and Meloni met face-to-face in Rome

Emmanuel Macron and Giorgia Meloni spoke at length on Tuesday in Rome about the migration issue and European solidarity with the peninsula, the gateway to the Old Continent for thousands of exiles

Immigration: Macron and Meloni met face-to-face in Rome

Emmanuel Macron and Giorgia Meloni spoke at length on Tuesday in Rome about the migration issue and European solidarity with the peninsula, the gateway to the Old Continent for thousands of exiles.

The French president, who received the head of the Italian government in June in Paris, made a short trip to the Italian capital to participate in the funeral of former president Giorgio Napolitano.

On this occasion, they made it known that they would take the time to talk to each other.

At the end of the funeral, which was also attended by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, they arrived together on foot at the beginning of the afternoon at Palazzo Chigi, seat of the Council Presidency.

They spoke face-to-face, without delegations, for about an hour, without making any statements at the end of the meeting.

This "long and cordial" interview made it possible to address "the main international issues, with particular attention to the management of the migratory phenomenon and European economic priorities", indicated Ms. Meloni's services in a press release.

The two leaders “continued their discussions on the need to find a European solution to the migration issue,” said the Elysée.

They will meet again on Friday in Malta for the tenth summit of the southern countries of the European Union before an informal meeting of the European Council on October 4 in Granada (Spain).

Emmanuel Macron and Giorgia Meloni have recently multiplied declarations of appeasement and desire to act together to manage the flow of migrants after the arrival in a few days in mid-September of thousands of people on the small Italian island of Lampedusa, located 150 km from the Tunisian coast in the Mediterranean.

“We cannot leave the Italians alone,” said Emmanuel Macron on Sunday evening on television. An outstretched hand that Ms. Meloni immediately said she “welcomed with great interest.”

The number of arrivals in Italy on boats from North Africa has increased, with more than 133,000 migrants registered so far this year, compared to almost 70,000 over the same period in 2022.

However, the figures have not yet surpassed those of 2016, when more than 181,000 people, many of them Syrians fleeing the war, reached Italy.

Relations between Paris and Rome were strained in November 2022, when Italy refused to welcome the humanitarian ship Ocean Viking and the 230 migrants on board, pushing Paris to let it dock in Toulon, while denouncing the behavior “unacceptable” from Rome.

Giorgia Meloni, head of the post-fascist Fratelli d'Italia party, criticizes other European states for not doing their part in welcoming migrants, while Italy is on the front line.

At the invitation of the Italian leader, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited Lampedusa and presented a ten-point emergency aid plan consisting of strengthening controls at sea, combating smugglers and to speed up the procedures for examining asylum applications.

On the other hand, new frictions have appeared between Italy and Germany.

Rome blames Berlin for temporarily stopping accepting migrants living in Italy – after Rome itself suspended EU rules governing the distribution of migrants. Italy also accuses him of financing organizations helping irregular migrants enter its territory.

26/09/2023 23:15:07 -         Rome (AFP) -         © 2023 AFP