Italy demands better apology from Paris following immigration row
According to the Italian Foreign Minister, "clearer words are needed."
Italy demanded a better-worded apology from the French government after its Interior Minister slammed Rome's crackdown on immigration, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said to stated-owned television RAI on Sunday.
"I hope that the French government changes its position and that an apology comes that represents a contrast to the positions adopted by the Interior Minister. I will be happy to accept them," said Tajani.
Tajani, a member of the far-right Forza Italia party, rejected the apologies issued by French Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne and the French Government's spokesperson Olivier Veran on Friday, stating that "clearer words are needed" to amend the strained ties between the two European neighbors.
"Italy is an essential partner to France," said Borne, adding that the EU nations' "relationship is founded on mutual respect."
The French Prime Minister's attempt to de-escalate tensions, which climaxed after her Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin targeted Italy's immigration policy, said Paris "will prioritize consultation and calm dialogue to continue to work together."
Veran said earlier to Cnews channel that "there was no desire from the interior minister to ostracise Italy in any way at all," adding that "We have discussions with the Italians -- they love politics -- but they want to do things their own way, and they want others to let them."
Darmanin criticized Giorgia Meloni's inability "to solve the migration problems on which she was elected," adding that the Italian Prime Minister was "lying" to voters, as she failed to deliver on her promises to solve the migrant crisis.
The comments led Tajani to cancel a planned trip to Paris on Thursday, in a show of protest, as described Darmanin's statement as "a stab in the back," calling on the French Minister to "apologize to the prime minister, the government, and Italy."
Tensions have been brewing between the two countries after Meloni prevented a rescue ship carrying 230 immigrants on board from docking in Italy.
The ship was allowed to get through to France, but Paris slammed Rome's "unacceptable" behavior and suspended plans to receive 3,500 migrants from Italy.
Immigrants seeking a better life in Europe left stranded
European countries are cracking down on immigration, which has ramped up in recent years as inflation affects countries of the Global South disproportionately. Tunisia has become a new hotspot for refugees seeking a better life in Europe as an estimated 3,000 people make a life-threatening journey from Tunisia to Italy each day, through the Mediterranean Sea.
Italy's government passed a new law that restricts the work of rescue workers, increasing regulation on rescue missions that aid distressed migrant vessels.
The rescue ship Geo Barents was previously stopped by Italian authorities for allegedly breaking the new government regulations, as the law mandates that rescue ships can only save one ship at a time, leaving the fate of distressed vessels to the uncertainty of the sea.
Financial crises in countries such as Tunisia have led to a massive flow of immigration through the Mediterranean which Italian authorities have sought to put an end to by calling on the IMF to reach an agreement with the Tunisian government, to lessen the burden off of the EU country.
In late March, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said, "For two months we have been saying, in all international forums: we must help Tunisia with financing from the IMF and the World Bank, giving at least the first aid pending reforms and verification of progress."