Italy is sending police to patrol its border with France in the Alpine village of Claviere after what it’s calling “hostile acts” by French officials.
Rome is accusing French customs agents of dropping off migrants in Italian territory without giving Italian authorities the chance to process them or check if they had crossed into France from Italy.
Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini posted a video on Facebook showing French police entering Italian territory in the Alpine village of Claviere and leaving a group of people thought to be African migrants on a road. Salvini warned that relations between the two neighbours “risk being seriously damaged”
“There is no bilateral agreement, written and official, which allows this type of operation,” Salvini said on Saturday (October 20).
Salvini’s French counterpart Christophe Castaner said on Sunday (October 21) that he plans to meet Salvini very soon and hopes the solution to the problem will be found in cooperation rather than opposition.
Salvini said he looked forward to the meeting but stressed that Italy would continue to patrol the borders. “Italy is no longer cowardly and resigned to being the refugee camp of Europe,” he added.
France legally returns hundreds of asylum seekers to Italy every year under the Dublin Agreement, which requires migrants to file their application in the first European country they enter.