Giorgia Meloni and Emmanuel Macron during the funeral of the former president of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, in Rome, September 26, 2023. CECILIA FABIANO / AP
The migration issue had opposed Paris and Rome, sometimes violently, after the arrival to power of the far-right leader Giorgia Meloni in Italy, in October 2022. Today, on the contrary, it provides prospects for convergences including the meeting, Tuesday September 26 in the Italian capital, of the president of the council with Emmanuel Macron is the latest demonstration to date.
The two countries are a long way from the diplomatic crisis of November 2022 caused by Italy’s refusal to welcome the migrants rescued aboard the humanitarian ship Ocean Viking or that which broke out in May when the French Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, accused Giorgia Meloni of being “unable to resolve migration problems”drawing parallels with Marine Le Pen.
Organized after the civil funeral of the former Italian President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano, attended by the French President, the interview was presented by Ms. Meloni as having discussed with a ” particular attention ” the “management of the migration phenomenon”. It comes after the formulation by Mr. Macron of positions likely to converge with those of the president of the council. In an interview given on Sunday September 24 to the television news of France 2 and TF1, the French president made conciliatory remarks towards Italy. “I want us to work with the president of the Italian council”, he declared, when asked about the migration issue. This position was accepted the following day “with great interest” by the interested party.
Since a peak in migrant arrivals on the Italian island of Lampedusa in mid-September, contacts have increased between the two governments. European capitals are immersed in a political and diplomatic sequence dominated by the theme of migration and coinciding with the launch of the campaign for the European elections in June 2024.
Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers The island of Lampedusa, at the gates of Fortress Europe
The situation at the border now in the background
Shortly before the Lampedusa episode, Paris had nevertheless announced a strengthening of customs, police, gendarmerie and army personnel deployed along the Italian border, where France reestablished controls in 2015. The French authorities systematically return people in an irregular situation who are intercepted there to Italy, which must therefore assume responsibility. These dismissals, recorded in increasing numbers in recent months, are condemned by the Italian government. They were also deemed non-compliant with European law by the Court of Justice of the European Union on Thursday September 21.
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