STX deal and Libya hotspots divide France and Italy
ROME - French President Emmanuel Macron has announced "We will build hotspots in Libya to review asylum requests.” The project is apparently going ahead this summer to have records of who has the requirements for obtaining refugee status. Gentiloni replies “Italy has its own agenda.”
Macron spoke at the meeting held in Paris between Libyan rival leaders Fayez Al Sarraj and Khalifa Haftar, kicking Italy out of talks. The French president explained his plan: "The idea is to create a hotspot In Libya to avoid people taking crazy risks when they have no way to get asylum […] I expect to start this summer, "he added, pointing out that it is his intention to proceed "with or without Europe.”
This idea had already been announced to European leaders at the summit on migrants, held in Berlin on June 29. The French President's proposal was endorsed with a "no comment" by the EU Commission.
Italy, however, was happy to respond immediately. "We have our agenda regarding immigration that commits us discuss with NGOs, and promote reconciliation of the forces," said Gentiloni.
“Migration flows are “a common commitment,” continued the President “we do not agree with the idea that the great issue of migration, which concerns refugees with asylum rights but also economic migrants from Africa, can be left to individual countries."
Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano commented "France cannot just go ahead with such improvised jokes, these issues are handled by international organizations such as UNHCR."
France isagreed with Italy on migrants yet again when French Minister for European Affairs Nathalie Loiseau announced that France does not want to change the European rules for the reception of migrants and wants it to be confirmed as the responsibility of the first host country. A no, then, to Italy's request to revise the Dublin treaty. We need "a wider and better applied solidarity in welcoming refugees.” said Loiseau.
Migration is not the only cause for tension between the two countries. Macron also said on Wednesday that France would nationalize the STX France shipyard if Italy does not accept its offer to split STX's capital equally. “We do not respond to ultimatums” stated Alfano.