Since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has turned into a transit point, through which 650,000 refugees have already reached Italy from Africa.
In Rome, the responsibility for the influx of migrants is laid on France, which persuaded NATO countries to get rid of Gaddafi. As a result, Libya is now torn apart by rival factions and an ongoing conflict between its two governments.
“It is clearly now undeniable that this country (Libya) finds itself in this situation because someone, in 2011, put their own interests ahead of those of the Libyan people and of Europe itself,” Italian Defense Minister Elisabetta Trenta wrote on Facebook. “France, from this point of view, is partly to blame,” she added.
Italian parliamentary speaker Roberto Fico was even more explicit, pointing to “a serious problem that has come from France.”
Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini also chimed in, blaming former French President Nicolas Sarkozy for unleashing the war in Libya and the present government for adding fuel to the flames of the Libyan conflict.
Italians are filled with nostalgia each time they recall the time when Rome and Tripoli signed an agreement to allow Italian companies to extract oil in Libya.
The Gaddafi government was holding back the flow of migrants to Europe and the country’s GDP was the second biggest in Africa and the first among the Arabic-speaking states of the Maghreb.
In Rome, the emphasis is that the decision to overthrow Gaddafi was made without taking into account the views of Italy.