Italy accuses France of 'Impoverishing Africa' as migration tensions erupt

Press quote (Voice of America)
23 January 2019

Analyst Luigi Scazzieri of the Centre For European Reform says while there is opposition to the CFA franc in some African countries, Di Maio’s accusations are misleading. “Now there’s two reasons for that. One of them being that at the moment the latest data suggests they (migrants) are not from countries using the CFA franc. And the second point is that in any case, if countries remain poor, migration is actually lower,” Scazzieri told VOA.

The Franco-Italian dispute follows the drowning of hundreds of migrants off Libya in recent days. The deaths have renewed the focus on Italy’s decision to end search-and-rescue operations in the Mediterranean – and on the European Union’s failure to agree a system to share quotas of refugees, analyst Scazzieri said.

“Italy (is) wanting France to take migrants who arrive on its shores, or at least part of them. And also disagreements over how to handle Libya, with Italy and France backing different sides in the Libyan civil war," he said.

...The dispute is a taste of what’s to come as populist forces like Italy’s 5-Star Movement and the League join battle with pro-Europeans.

“This contraposition has been created whereby Italy is the populists and Macron is the Europeanists. And it suits both sides in a sense to have each other as the bogeyman. Of course this is especially important in light of the upcoming European Parliament elections,” Scazzieri said.