“Ocean Viking”: why does the reception of migrants create a crisis between France and Italy?

At the heart of the standoff between France and Italy, there is the reception of migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean but also their distribution. According to an agreement, Italy says that part of the migrants must be taken care of by other European countries.

France has decided to welcome the 234 migrants rescued at sea by the Ocean Viking, Thursday, November 10, after the refusal of the government of Giorgia Meloni. Gerald Darmanin denounced Italy’s “irresponsible” behavior and announced retaliatory measures. In retaliation, France will no longer welcome on its territory 3,500 migrants who have arrived in Italy, whom it had nevertheless undertaken to accept this summer. Border controls will be tightened.

“France’s reaction to the request to welcome 234 migrants, when Italy only welcomed 90,000 this year, is totally incomprehensible,” reacted Matteo Piantedosi, the Italian Interior Minister. Rome accuses its European partners of lacking solidarity.

“Mechanisms that work at a discount”

According to the rules, a ship in distress must be rescued by the country on which the search area depends. Malta and Italy ignored calls from the boat of the NGO SOS Méditerranée. In terms of immigration, the European Union adopted a solidarity pact in June. States have agreed to relocate 10,000 asylum seekers per year. But this mechanism only applied to Italy. “These are mechanisms that work at a discount, even dysfunctional,” says Fanélie Carrey-Conte, secretary general of Cimade, an association supporting migrants.