The Quirinal Treaty of Friendship seems to be written in sand. Italy and France are once again at loggerheads and this time the sparks come from Paris. The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, in a radio interview, defined the Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni as “incapable of solving migration problems”.
Now, that we don’t know how to deal with the phenomenon, it is there for all to see, also because it is not possible to do it alone and naval blockades are now the sovereign prehistory that was only good for electoral campaigning. It is equally clear that the Cutro decree law approved yesterday by Parliament is not needed. Removing the special protection and recovering pieces of the Salvini decrees does not solve, on the contrary it fuels clandestinity and not integration. Just as it is clear that implementing the Mattei Plan proposed by Meloni to stop departures to Africa is unrealistic, if only that a lot of money is needed and individual European countries are not willing to give it up. With the result that migration management in the phantom external dimension of Europe, with which European capitals fill their mouths, remains a chimera.
It is in this disappointing setting of national selfishness and of gendarmes in Ventimiglia that Darmanin’s imprudent, let’s say it, inappropriate words fall. The French minister managed to transform an objective and general truth into an aid to the Italian government. He generated a political and diplomatic case, mixing the institutional relations between two founding countries of the European Union with the politics of the Alps and the controversy against Marine Le Pen. Responding to a question about the situation on the French-Italian border, he said that “Madame Meloni, head of the far-right government chosen by Marine Le Pen’s friends, is not capable of handling the migratory problems for which she was elected”. . It is true that in the south of France, as Le Pen claims, there is an increase in migrants, especially minors, but according to Darmanin this would be due to the serious situation in Tunisia and the wave of departures that Italy is unable to face. As if wanting it was enough.
Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani has canceled the meeting with his French colleague Caterine Colonna. Matteo Salvini has put his weight on it, stating that he is proudly a friend of Le Pen, that he does not accept lessons from those who reject women and children in Italy while instead he hosts “murderers and terrorists who should return to Italy”. President Sergio Mattarella put his hands in his hair: in the morning he had said that global challenges require the unity of the European Union. He will once again have to mend the rift with France.
The fact remains that the French government is on edge because the street protests, even very violent ones, that Le Pen is using for his electoral campaign one year before the European elections, are not subsiding. Another fact is that the Italian government is trying to anesthetize its electorate with an immigration decree that eliminates special protection and encourages clandestinity.
There is undoubtedly an Italian incapacity, which is independent of internal French quarrels, but there is also a European rhetoric that has always left Italy alone. Perhaps Tajani, as Pierferdinando Casini suggested to him, shouldn’t have reacted to the French minister Darmian with other retaliations. “Whoever has more intelligence, use it. We need to remain consistent with European principles and the Quirinal Treaty of Friendship», is the advice of the former president of the Chamber.
It’s not that simple. At the old rusts, the climate between Rome and Paris is heating up on the road leading to the European vote. But it would be appropriate for Meloni to clarify what he wants to do, in addition to the Mattei Plan for Africa. He says if he wants the distribution of migrants to be compulsory and not optional, as it is today. He explains what you want to agree with the UK Conservative government on migration policy. In the meeting they had a few days ago, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called for open support from Rome for the contested policy of London which would like to arrest migrants crossing the Channel and detain them until forced repatriation to their country of origin or deportation to Rwanda. A little clarity wouldn’t hurt.