Migrants in Lampedusa: France “will not welcome” refugees from the Italian island, announces Gérald Darmanin

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terre d'Asile The Minister of the Interior thus displays the “firmness” of the French government in this matter

Migrants in Lampedusa&nbsp ;: France

New arrival of 190 migrants from Ghana on a coastguard boat in Lampedusa. — Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/Shutter

This is a categorical refusal. Gérald Darmanin announced this Tuesday that France will not welcome any of the thousands of migrants who have arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa in recent days. The Minister of the Interior thus displays “firmness” of the government in this matter.

“France wants a position of firmness”,” the minister, guest on the set of TF1. The case of asylum seekers, for example for political reasons, is of course different, he conceded. Gérald Darmanin, who however minimized their presence among the migrants disembarking at Lampedusa. “It is not by welcoming more people that we are going to dry up a flow which obviously affects our capacity for integration,” he continued.

« On the other hand, we said to our Italian friends that we were ready to “help them to return people to countries with which we have good diplomatic relations,” he added. Mr. Darmanin, citing Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.

High tension

The minister spoke the day after a visit to France. Rome to its transalpine counterpart, while Italy faces a major challenge. a significant acceleration in the arrival of migrants on the island of Lampedusa, located between Tunisia and Sicily.

Between last Monday and Wednesday, around 8,500 people , more than the entire population of Lampedusa, arrived at on board 199 boats, according to the United Nations migration agency.

This situation has put the island's reception capacities under great strain, generating a surge in demand. a political shock wave in Italy and relaunched the thorny question of solidarity European approach in terms of reception and distribution of asylum seekers, to support the countries on the front line of these arrivals.

« These are not Afghans, they are not Syrians»

On the subject of asylum seekers, Gérald Darmanin admitted that it was necessary “distinguish” their situation compared to that of the majority; migrants, while passing this responsibility on to the to the Italian authorities. « If people are eligible for asylum, (if) they are persecuted sexually, politically, religiously, obviously it is the duty of France like other European countries to welcome them,” he said. he admitted.

But he downplayed it. the presence of asylum seekers among the migrants from Lampedusa, affirming that the majority of the latter were not fleeing persecution. “They are not Afghans, they are not Syrians”, he insisted.

The minister also announced: that he had decided to “strengthen” controls at the same time the Franco-Italian border: the police and gendarmerie personnel dedicated to This task will increase from 500 to 500. 700, he said.