Italy postponed high-level talks with France Wednesday after Paris blasted Rome for its “nauseating” refusal to take in a migrant rescue ship, in a major diplomatic spat. Italy’s new economy minister Giovanni Tria had been due to meet his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire in Paris Wednesday afternoon.
Ansa reports that the Italian government on Wednesday called on Paris to apologise for its criticism of Italy’s handling of the case of the Aquarius migrant-rescue ship and Economy Minister Giovanni Tria cancelled a meeting with his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire. French President Emmanuel Macron called Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini “cynical and irresponsible” in refusing to allow the Aquarius to offload 629 migrants at an Italian port at the weekend.
The spokesman for his En Marche party described Italy’s migrant policy as “sickening” The NGO-run ship is now in its way to Valencia after Spain agreed to offer a port of safety, although Madrid said Rome’s refusal to accept the Aquarius was potentially a criminal case.
“We have nothing to learn from anyone in terms of solidarity,” Salvini, who is also deputy premier and leader of the League party, told the Senate.
“Our history does not deserve to be reproached in these terms by members of the French government, who I hope apologise.
“Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria’s visit has been cancelled and we express sadness,” Le Maire said. “There are many important issues to discuss with Tria, in particular in view of the European Council at the end of June”. Le Maire added that Tria “will come to Paris in the coming days”.