Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron described Italy as being in a state of crisis with the European Union over their contrasting migration policies.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte responded to Macron’s remark, insisting that he is “wrong” to suggest there is a crisis with the EU, explaining that the French president is only able to speak for his own country, not all of the bloc’s other member states.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, PM Conte said, “A crisis between Italy and the EU? You are wrong. Macron claims that Italy has problems with Europe? Fortunately, Europe is made up of 27 states and Macron speaks only for France.”
“He has the right to express his opinion, but he is wrong,” he reiterated.
Relations deteriorated with France after Italy’s populist coalition government prevented a boat laden with migrants from docking on its territory, drawing condemnation from Brussels and a number of member states.
However, the French government also didn’t allow the Aquarius boat to dock at its Marseille port, expectedly resulting in Macron being dubbed a hypocrite, as he accused Italy of creating a “political crisis” by not abiding to “international laws” and “humanitarian laws of the sea.”
Italy’s Deputy PM, Matteo Salvini, has been particularly vocal on the migrant crisis, insisting that Europe should not rescue migrant boats and escort them to safety on European safety as this encourage others to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.
Moreover, in an interview with Deutsche Welle earlier this week, Salvini he believed German Chancellor Angela Merkel underestimated the “risk of a social clash” as a result of her open-door migrant policy, stressing the need for Italy to avert a similar crisis.