France still criticizes Italy over the management of the Ocean Viking

France asked “to Europe to decide very quickly on the follow-up to be given” to the refusal to italy to welcome the Ocean Viking ship and its 230 migrants on board, the government spokesman said on Sunday Olivier Veran.

On Friday, the ambulance boat of the NGO SOS Méditerranée operating off the coast of Libya landed survivors in France, a first. An exceptional welcome, out of “duty of humanity”, according to the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmaninmaritime law providing in principle that this disembarkation takes place closer to the rescue zone, between Libya and Italy.

Italy and its responsibilities

Olivier Véran criticized again on Sunday on BFM TV Italy’s refusal to welcome him, “a unilateral, unacceptable decision (…) which calls for European responses”. “The first response was humanitarian, it’s done” since the docking of the boat in Toulon on Friday, he continued.

And “the second answer is to recall the obligations” of Italy, “and if it refused, to consider any useful measure”. “The time, and we have done it, is for France to ask Europe to decide very quickly on the follow-up to be given”, added Olivier Véran, while “Italy is discarding its responsibility on his neighbors and his French friends”.

Franco-Italian confusion

Thursday, when announcing the decision to let the Ocean Viking dock, Gérald Darmanin had indicated that in retaliation, France was suspending with “immediate effect” the planned reception of 3,500 migrants currently in Italy. Some 500 of them were to arrive by the end of the year, said Olivier Véran.

The head of the far-right Italian government Giorgia Meloni she had denounced an “aggressive (…) and unjustified” French reaction, recalling that her country has welcomed nearly 90,000 migrants since the beginning of the year. Italy points out that while several countries have pledged since June to collect 8,000 of them to help Rome, only 117 have actually been relocated since June.

Asked about the difference in treatment compared to theAquariusa former SOS Méditerranée ship which ended up docking in Spain four years ago, Olivier Véran stressed that since then, “we have had this agreement on the distribution of migrants” and “each European country is committed”.

Discontent of Gérard Collomb

Currently placed in a center in Hyères (Var) transformed for the occasion into a closed and secure international waiting area, 190 of these survivors have begun to be heard by the staff of the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons. (Ofpra) on their asylum request, indicated the Var prefecture. Two are hospitalized.

The Red Cross also helps them reconnect with their families. Sunday, several deputies and senators as well as representatives of the bar of Toulon visited the center, according to the prefecture, associations having regretted that these exiles are placed in a closed center. In all, two thirds of the Ocean Viking migrants will leave France to be relocated to eleven countries.

For his part, the former Minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb denounced in Point the opening of a “breach, creating a precedent” with the docking of the Ocean Viking in Toulon. “For me, this can only encourage the networks of smugglers for whom migrants are a source of considerable earnings (…)”, he estimated.

Gerard Collombwho resigned in October 2018 after declaring his candidacy for mayor of Lyon, claims to have left the government at the time to protest against the possible creation of “controlled centers” of migrants in Toulon or Marseille.

France still criticizes Italy over the management of the Ocean Viking