Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini finally demanded an official apology from Paris after French President Emmanuel Macron criticized Italy’s decision to turn away the 629 immigrants aboard the Aquarius away last week, calling it an action undertaken with “cynicism and irresponsibility”. During a speech at the Parliament, Salvini resurfaced the topic of France’s decision to turn away 9816 migrants at Italy’s northern border – an act which directly contradicted France agreeing upon an EU redistribution scheme in 2015 which demanded the country to relieve all front-line countries from the immense pressure of an influx of asylum seekers.
Salvini also pointed out that it was extremely hypocritical of President Macron to criticize Italy for refusing to admit a few immigrants, when France itself had only accepted 640 immigrants into the country since the past few years, which stood in direct contrast with the thousands given asylum in Italy per year. Thus, unless President Macron is willing to take in all 9816 people promised by France the very next day into his country, Salvini believed the former owed his country an apology.
A statement released from the Italian parliament on Wednesday also announced that the Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanese had summoned the French ambassador to Italy in the morning in order to discuss upon this crisis. Salvini also announced to the Press later that a planned summit between Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte and President Macron scheduled for Friday remained on thin ice unless France issued an official apology for President Macron’s words towards Italy before that.