Why the dispute between Italy and France over immigration erupts again

Good morning. Kiev was spooked last night by missiles and gunfire targeting a drone overhead – before the Ukrainian Air Force admitted it was one of its planes, and that it was rogue. This came after a Wednesday morning drone attack on the Moscow Kremlin: here is our analysis of this mysterious incident.

Today our Rome and Paris bureau chiefs have broken up last night’s frenzy of Franco-Italian emigration, and the Polish man in Brussels told our agricultural correspondent in Warsaw that he would not play ball until the Ukrainian grain had been flown out of his country.

I will go next week. responsible Laura. I wish you a nice weekend.

No love is lost

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani was supposed to have dinner with his French counterpart in Paris last night, paving the way for Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s first official visit to France.

But Tajani called it off at the last minute amid bitter accusations after French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin criticized Meloni for failing to deal with the growing number of migrants. He writes Amy Kazmin And Laila Abboud.

The context: Relations between Rome and Paris soured in November, when Italy rejected a plea for safe haven for 234 migrants rescued from the Mediterranean by a French charity. France allowed the migrants to disembark but criticized Italy’s behaviour. Tensions have escalated since then.

Tajani’s trip was aimed at getting the strained relationship back on track, and laying the groundwork for a broader agenda for talks, including issues of mutual interest such as Ukraine and North Africa.

More than 42,400 migrants have arrived in Italy so far this year, up from 11,226 last year, as conditions in Tunisia and other countries worsen.

Darmanin’s attack on Meloni came after he announced the deployment of 150 additional police officers to the Italian border, amid fears that many migrants arriving in Italy could cross to France.

After a close ally of France’s far-right opposition leader Marine Le Pen complained that the outreach was insufficient, Darmanin angrily lashed out, likening Meloni to Le Pen.

“Madame Meloni, the far-right government chosen by Ms. Le Pen’s friends, is incapable of solving the immigration problems on the basis of which she was elected,” he said, noting that Italy faces a “very serious migration crisis” that has only gotten worse under Meloni’s leadership.

He complained that Italy was “unable to manage things. . . This is the pressure of immigration,” and that many young people were arriving in France.

Darmanin’s blow was a clumsy attempt to attack Le Pen for a domestic audience, suggesting that Le Pen would similarly be unable to control migratory flows.

But it ended up creating a diplomatic incident.

After that, the French Foreign Ministry tried to set things right, insisting in a short statement that Paris wanted to work “in a spirit of solidarity” with Italy to “face the common challenge” of the migrant flow.

But Tajani lost his appetite.

“The minister’s insults to the government and to Italy are unacceptable,” he said on Twitter, announcing that he had changed his plans. “This is not the spirit in which you should face common European challenges.”

Chart du jour: great regrets

In all but three of the UK’s constituencies, a majority of people believe Brexit was a mistake, according to survey data cited in the Britain After Brexit newsletter.

Stretch effect

The mountains of Ukrainian grain accumulated in Poland and other neighboring countries are increasingly seeping into other areas of politics.

The Ambassador of Poland assured that if the issue is not dealt with, Warsaw will postpone the main priorities of Brussels, He writes Andy Pounds.

Context: Brussels has agreed to ban imports of Ukrainian grain to five member states until June 5, except for transit shipments. Farmers complained it had flooded the market and sent prices down, after the European Union cut tariffs on food imports to support Kiev in its war with Russia.

Poland explained that millions of tons of tons in the country need to be transported, ideally to the traditional Ukrainian export markets in Africa and Asia.

If not, an agreement on development and economic cooperation with 79 countries – a post-Cotonou agreement – will have difficulty gaining ratification in the Warsaw parliament, the country’s permanent representative in Brussels told the Financial Times.

We want to support Ukraine, but the bankruptcy of farmers is not the price we want to pay. Andre Sado said: We want a solution to export these grains. He pointed out that the Russian invasion “had a negative impact on food security” in these countries.

Sadoy has also pushed for potash sanctions from Belarus, which some countries are lobbying against, fearing the move would deprive them of vital fertilizers.

“Since January 10th, we have been very frustrated with the lack of a decision on Belarus,” Sadoy said. We don’t forbid anything. But we need time to get our inner attitude [on post-Cotonou]. “

Translation from Polish: Post-Cotonou deal does not happen until grain is transported and potash is banned.

What are you watching today

  1. European Union leaders travel to London ahead of the coronation of King Charles.

  2. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hosts Estonian Foreign Minister Marjos Tskana.

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