The Italian deputy prime minister has blamed France for the European migrant crisis, accusing it of impoverishing African nations with “colonialist” policies. He promised to take the issue to the EU and other international bodies. “France is one of those countries that by printing money for 14 African states prevents their economic development and contributes to the fact that the refugees leave and then die in the sea or arrive on our coasts,” Di Maio told reporters.
Di Maio was referring to the CFA franc — a currency used in 14 west and central African nations, which is tied to the euro at a fixed exchange rate, with the peg guaranteed by France.
Luigi Di Maio, leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and Italy’s Deputy PM, launched a scathing attack on France, which he argued is to blame for the inherent causes of the ongoing migrant crisis at EU borders.
Di Maio was speaking at a rally on Sunday, when he touched on recent mass migrant drownings in the Mediterranean. It is believed that up to 170 migrants who left Libya and Morocco on ramshackle dinghies may have drowned in the sea last week. Three migrants were saved by the Italian Navy on Friday off the cost of Lampedusa.
The survivors said they were a part of a group of 120 people that sailed from Libya on Thursday. Their boat started to sink after they were at sea for about 10 hours. The victims, according to migrant organizations, include a two-month-old child and at least 10 women. Separately, another boat carrying 53 migrants capsized in the western Mediterranean, according to sole survivor of the incident.
The tragedies have reignited the debate on the hardline migration policy championed by Italy’s right-wing government.