The leaders of France and Italy have called for more integrated EU action to tackle the on going migration crisis.
The message came as France’s new president Emmanuel Macron held talks in Paris with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, ahead of next week’s G7 meeting in Sicily.
Along with acknowledging that the bloc had not paid enough attention to Italy’s warning about the growing burden the two men also looked to wider financial issues within the eurozone.
“We should invest this capital of trust into shared policies on migration, and into the development of our monetary union moving towards a fiscal and banking union,” said Prime Minister Gentiloni. “It will not be an immediate process but the important thing is to begin it and proceed in the right direction, through shared regulations, which Italy intends to respect and which should increasingly encourage agreement and not discord.”
President Macron responded by saying he knew the challenges Italy has had to go through in terms of migration. “I actually think that we did not hear the warnings sounded by Italy early enough. My wish is that we can move forward with real reform of the right to asylum in order to better protect the countries that are the most subjected to this migration pressure and to clarify our common rules.”
The EU has seen some 1.6 million refugees and migrants from the Middle East, Africa and beyond reach its shores in 2014-2016. Most first arrived in flimsy boats in Greece but now they head mainly to Italy.