La MER DE la France

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The arrogance, the conceit, the nationalism driven to individualism found their worst expression in the sudden closure of borders to migrants, blocked by the police, as they were in front of hostile invasion. This is the civilized France, the one that is proud of having the largest number of ethnic groups within it. Right, as long as they are of lower level, useful as cheap labour relegated to the banlieues; on the other hand, the great migration came mainly from former colonies. Now the world has changed, France has not. It thinks it can dictate laws and rules to the other countries, to care nothing for international agreements – Schengen first – to look at Italy through the eyes of Charles VIII.

Pseudo-conquerors arriving, shooting and wishing to raid, leaving just ruins. Since 1494 it seems that nothing has changed. The war in Libya is the latest example: they wanted it; it was studied together with the Americans and guided without even thinking about the post-Gaddafi situation. The idea was to get their hands on the local oil resources, and to manage the flow of oil to the Old Continent and beyond. What a pity that the leaders of Eni were more astute than them: while hunting transalpine were bombing Tripoli, Italians made agreements with tribal leaders who, once the regime was swept away, had to manage the wells. The Gallic had not predicted this move, which left them empty-handed.

Maybe also for this reason, they bear a grudge against Italy. And the infamous move of blocking African migrants in Ventimiglia is the evidence. They are just desperate people, trying to be reunited with their families, or trying to find a future going to northern Europe. France has decided independently to put on the sheriff’s star and to close the border crossings. “La mer de la France” in this way has become inaccessible, such as the land borders.

“The Commission is aware of border controls in France, Austria and Switzerland concerning Italy and we are investigating into the situation. We want to remind that everyone must respect Schengen and the rules of the European asylum system”, migration spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said. But her statement is too aloof. Europe needs to rediscover its united soul if it is to survive, otherwise the purpose for which we should be united will fade away; and then the disintegration will be total.

The French – from the top of their pomposity – piles it on: “It is necessary that Italy agrees to create centers to make a distinction between irregular migrants and refugees,” the Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, stated. According to the idea supported by Paris, a long article of Le Monde said, “the European Asylum Support Office and the High Commission for Refugees would do this first selection and then the individual States would study the dossier”.

The French newspaper explains that the block of migrants between Ventimiglia and Menton is primarily due to the explosive situation in Paris, where in just one week hundreds of Africans have been evacuated three times from as many makeshift camps, after the first eviction at the Pont de la Chapelle on June 2, among debates and complaints against police methods.

So here it is the real reason: to preserve domestic tranquility even at the cost of blowing up a powder keg just beyond the borders. After all, protectionism is a feature of the French. But this does not mean that Italy, and Europe, have to adapt. Rather the contrary.

President Francois Hollande – who said to his interior minister “Migrants do not pass, Italy will deal with them” – is meeting Matteo Renzi on Sunday, and the prime minister will have to be up to the job. Until now, he has been not, given the management of the Ventimiglia’s case, which has seen us being given a slap by the French, not being able to take immediate countermeasures.

The solicitation of the transalpine bishops seems pointless. They sharply criticized the government’s choice making a plea “on Christian solidarity and responsibility of the European policy, so to not ceding to the logic of pranks, and not playing on the shoulders and on the backs of migrants,” Father Lorenzo Prencipe said, who is the director of the national Service for the pastoral Care of Migrants, during the French Bishops’ Conference. “The reason for this hardening of French policy towards immigration – he explained – is essentially linked to the electoral situation in the country”, where the elections are scheduled for the next year.

And so, while Italy seems incapable of asserting its rights and France continues in being arrogant and stubborn, the migrants are bearing the brunt of it. They are forced to remain not in the “mer de” France, but literally in the shit.

Translation provided by Maria Rosaria Mastropaolo

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