France-Italy: Standoff on migrants sours further
8 April 2011
"Immigration: standoff between Italy and France”, reads La Stampa. Relations between the two countries reached a new low on 7 April following the French government’s refusal to recognise temporary visas issued by the Italian authorities to migrants arriving on its shores in the last few days, and France’s decision to continue sending back those who try to enter French territory. Italy has been issuing six-month visas to ease numbers at the country’s overburdened retention centres. According to Italian interior minister Roberto Maroni, quoted in the Turin-based daily, France cannot expel migrants who hold a valid visa without suspending the Schengen Agreement. Referring to recent tensions involving French investors seeking to take over major Italian firms Edison, Parmalat and Generali, he added that “a cold war began some time ago between the two countries, essentially rooted in finance, which is now being unfairly levied on thousands of Tunisian migrants who speak French and seek to enter France ”.