Italy: Germany, France can't solve refugee crisis without us

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi says Germany, France and European Commission should not cut deals on Europe’s refugee crisis without involving Italy

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the Senate in Rome, January 27, 2016. REUTERS

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has criticised German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and the head of the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for cutting deals on Europe’s refugee crisis without involving his country.

Renzi told Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily newspaper that he would be delighted if Merkel and Hollande could solve all the problems of Europe, ahead of a meeting with Merkel in Berlin on Friday.

"But that is generally not the case," he added in the interview published in the paper's Thursday edition.

"If we're looking for a joint European strategy to solve the refugee question, it can't be sufficient for Angela to first call Hollande and then EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and that I learn of the result in the press," he explained.

Italy, along with Greece is one of the main stepping stones of refugees into europe. From 01 January 2015 to 13 January 2016, an estimated 154,214 refugees were registered arriving in Italy, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

Italy is on the frontline of Europe’s refugee crisis. The country also suffers from low economic growth and a third year of recession.

The Italian Prime Minister had previously criticised EU policies on migration and banking.

Renzi said he supported the idea of German Vice Chancellor to cut development aid to north African countries that are not willing to take back citizens whose asylum applications were rejected.

The refugee crisis has been a major issue for the Union since mid 2015. After the conflict in Syria escalated in 2011, a wave of refugees fled from the civil war to neighbouring countries and Europe.

Turkey hosts the most refugees from Syria - 2.5 million - followed by Lebanon which hosts 1,070,189 registered refugees and Jordan which hosts 632,762, according to the UNHCR.

Between April 2011 and November 2015, Europe received 813,599 Syrian asylum applications in total. The flow of refugees is not likely to end until the end of the war in the region.


TRTWorld and agencies