Italian PM is right to refuse migrant boats, says Le Pen as she slams hypocritical French government

FILE - French conservative politician Marine Le Pen leaves the party congress after announcing the newly elected chief of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, in Paris, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is right to turn away the plethora of migrant rescue vessels attempting to offload the migrants they are taxiing from the Mediterranean to Europe, the leader of France’s National Rally parliamentary group, Marine Le Pen, has said.

In an interview with the Italian Corriere della Sera publication, France’s former presidential candidate offered her support to the newly elected Italian leader, insisting the new Italian decree to refuse permission for humanitarian vessels to dock, or to only offload those genuinely vulnerable when they do so, is the correct policy.

“The accusations of the French rulers against Italy are profoundly unjust and reveal a rejection of democracy,” Le Pen told the publication as she slammed French President Emmanuel Macron’s administration.

“The Italians elected Meloni, who is notoriously opposed to the anarchist clandestine immigration that the NGOs are trying to impose on us. By refusing to allow those on the Ocean Viking to disembark, the government in Rome is merely respecting the will of the Italian people,” Le Pen added.

The French conservative politician referenced the French government’s reluctance to accept the humanitarian vessel, operated by the French NGO SOS Méditerranée, after Italy refused it permission to dock in Catania, highlighting Macron’s double standards on the issue.

“As for the French government, I find it hypocritical because it evokes humanitarian reasons, but in 2018 the Aquarius ship was rejected by France and was forced to sail to Valencia,” she noted.

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Le Pen highlighted the French government’s reliance on international law, which states that a humanitarian vessel has to dock in the closest safe port, and wondered, “Why don’t the boats of the NGOs, which I consider accomplices of the smugglers, not land in Algeria, or even closer in Tunisia? Aren’t those safe havens?”

“It is an attitude of great contempt towards those countries, moreover incomprehensible given that every year hundreds of thousands of Europeans go to spend their holidays in Tunisia. Are Tunisian ports safe for tourists and not for the Ocean Viking?” Le Pen asked.

“The truth is that the French government is in favor of immigration and doesn’t want to say so,” the politician told the Italian publication, adding that she stands with countries such as Poland and Hungary, which have welcomed refugees but have a much stricter line on economic migrants.

“There is no inconsistency in the fact that each country thinks first of all of its own interest. I don’t want to welcome migrants into my country and I don’t want to impose them on others. The European Union cannot impose migrants on people who do not want them,” she concluded.

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