French interior minister scolds far-right MP for ‘lashing out at gov’t rather than Italians’ over migrants row

Asked about the Ocean Viking row with Italy, in a National Assembly session on Tuesday, Darmanin told Paris: "I am very surprised that lawmakers who call themselves patriots prefer lashing out at the government rather than the Italians."

The diplomatic row between Rome and Paris started early this month after Italy pushed France to allow the arrival in a French port of a humanitarian ship, the Ocean Viking, with 230 rescued migrants aboard after Rome had repeatedly ignored its requests for disembarking in an Italian port.

Darmanin also recalled that French authorities were the ones who decided to admit those migrants, especially children.

"Indeed, madam, you are not always patriotic when you have to ally yourself with the enemies, those who are attacking France at this moment," Darmanin noted.

French politicians Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour reacted to Darmanin's declarations.

Speaking to private broadcaster CNews, Marine Le Pen said those remarks were "serious" and that Italy is a friend.

Another far-right politician Zemmour tweeted on Wednesday: "Darmanin you are the only one responsible for the Ocean Viking fiasco. Labeling Italy as an enemy of France is a serious error."

After Giorgia Meloni took power in September as the prime minister, Italy adopted a hardline approach towards NGO ships that request a place to disembark hundreds of migrants rescued while in distress in the Mediterranean.

A controversial decree pushed by Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi led to a "selective" approach in deciding who can disembark from the charity ships.

Those who did not qualify as "vulnerable" were asked to leave Italian waters to be taken care of by the "flag state."

The new "selective" approach to migrants' arrivals raised worries in Italy and abroad from humanitarian organizations and international observers that accused Rome of violating maritime laws and refugees' rights to seek asylum after risking their lives at sea.

Source: Anadolu Agency