The Strategist

Rome blames France for plundering Africa and migrant crisis

01/24/2019 - 11:50

Relations between Italy and France has sharpened. It was initiated by Deputy Prime Minister of Italy, Head of the Interior Ministry, the leader of the right-wing party Lega Nord Matteo Salvini, who is considered the most popular politician in the Apennines nowaday. He gained popularity thanks to his irreconcilable fight against migrants, whom he refuses to allow on the Italian coast, and with European Union “bureaucrats”. Yet another distinctive feature is his love for harsh statements, which are often barely acceptable.

Despite the neighborhood, Italian and French leaders are not seen together very often. The last time Emmanuel Macron came to Rome exactly a year ago, in January 2018. The meeting with Head of the Italian government, Paolo Gentiloni, was held in a friendly atmosphere with smiles, hugs and many warm words spoken to each other. The main result of that visit was a statement about signing of the treaty of friendship and cooperation between France and Italy at the end of the year.

In the first half of last year, relations between France and Italy did not yield good-neighborly relations between France and Germany. A year later, President Macron and Angela Merkel signed a new treaty on friendship and cooperation in return for the Elysee Treaty, concluded in 1963. As for the Franco-Italian treaty, it remained on paper. And this is not surprising, because a coalition government of the far right led by Matteo Salvini and the populists headed by the Five Star leader Luigi Di Mayo came to power after the May elections in Italy. Both of these parties, as well as their leaders, are not fans of France, to put it mildly. They are accusing Paris of many Italian troubles and problems.

According to the current leaders of Italy, not only Germany and Chancellor Merkel with her open door policy, but also France, as Salvini argues, is to blame for the wave of illegal migrants who swept the country. He believes that the country’s government is “hypocritical”. France says it welcomes migrants, but has closed the border with Italy and does not let those Africans who would like to move to the territory of the Fifth Republic enter the country, according to Salvini.

Emmanuel Macron called for mercy towards Africans and generosity. In turn, Matteo Salvini has repeatedly accused him in hypocrisy and demanded to accept migrants from Africa. And now, in an interview with Canale 5TV, he returned to his usual topic and accused Paris of provoking a crisis with migrants in Europe. At the same time he called the French colonizers who robbed Africa. It is the poverty provoked by the robberies of the French, according to Salvini, that now makes Africans flee in search of a better life to Europe.

“The problem with migrants has many causes,” explained Matteo Salvini to Canale 5TV viewers. “In Africa, some countries have taken wealth away from the continent and its peoples, and France is among these countries. Unlike Italy... Therefore, I do not intend to take the lessons of humanity and generosity from Macron."

Apparently, the coalition allies have coordinated the attack on Paris and personally on Emmanuel Macron, whom they consider their personal enemy. Two days earlier, on Sunday, Luigi Di Maio spoke about the plunder of Africa by the French.

“In order for Africans to remain in Africa,” the leader of the Five Stars said, “it would be enough for the French to stay at home.” If now Africans are leaving Africa, the reason is that some European countries, led by France, have colonized dozens of African countries.”

After Di Maio’s statements, the Italian ambassador Teresa Castaldo was invited to the French Foreign Ministry, where he received a note of protest about the “hostile” words of Luigi Di Maio. Now, after the equally emotional accusation of Salvini, Castaldo will obviously have to go to the French Foreign Ministry again.


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