France and Italy Exchange Harsh Words Over Refugee Crisis

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte demanded an apology this week from none other than French president Emmanuel Macron over a complicated and horrific refugee incident.

This week, a boat of 932 migrants and refugees from Libya, rescued crossing the Mediterranean, attempted to dock in Italy, but were refused entrance because of Conte’s policies against accepting NGO ships, a recent change in Italy’s policy since Conte took power on June 1. The ship is instead being escorted to Spain, but the voyage is long and conditions are poor for the men, women, and children onboard. President Macron responded to Conte’s decision by publicly calling his actions ones of “cynicism and irresponsibility.”

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Conte shot back in an address to the Italian Senate, calling Macron’s statement a hypocritical one and urging the French president to prove his humanitarian sympathies with actions instead of words. “France agreed to take 9,800 migrants. Instead, it’s taken 640. So I ask President Macron to take in 9,000 migrants tomorrow morning, as a show of real generosity,” Conte said.

The two leaders have announced that they will be meeting Friday to attempt to talk out their differences, and hopefully to solve the miserable conditions of these and future migrants.