After Malta, Salivini lashes out at France
Lashing out at the French government, Salvini said France had taken in only a fraction of the 9,816 migrants it had pledged to accept under a 2015 EU relocation plan. The EU plan, which was intended to relieve pressure on Italy and Greece, has largely flopped, with only a handful of countries receiving their share of newcomers.
“So I ask President Macron to pass from words to action and tomorrow morning, welcome the 9,000 France promised to welcome as a sign of concrete generosity and not just words,” Salvini said.
France has admitted 635 migrants under the terms of the plan, according to EU figures.
The line Italy drew with the Aquarius appeared to be a tactic by the populist government sworn in this month to force Europe’s hand at a summit of EU leaders in Brussels set for 28 and 29 June.
Italy for years has complained that it has been left largely alone to manage Europe’s migrant crisis, but the new government says its firm stance has finally gotten the point across.
“I think we’ve never been so central and so heard as we have been over the last hours,” Salvini told the senators, adding that sympathetic officials from Germany and elsewhere had contacted him to applaud his position.
Salvini also accused France of having turned back 10,249 migrants at Italy’s northern border since January, “including women, children and disabled people.”
The border crossing point at Ventimiglia has been the scene of protests and desperation for years as France refused to let in migrants, many of them seeking to reach family in France or