French and Italian Presidents hold phone call to calm tensions

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The President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, and the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, have held a phone call in an attempt to calm relations between the two countries after tension regarding policies on migration. 

Following the call a joint statement was released which reaffirmed the great importance of the relationship between the two countries and stressed the need to ensure full collaboration on all issues, both bilaterally and in the European Union. 

Last week there was a rare example of direct confrontation between the two countries regarding Italy’s refusal to allow the Ocean Viking, a rescue boat carrying migrants rescued from failed Mediterranean crossings, to dock in Italian ports. The boat was eventually given permission by France to dock in Toulon, France, allowing the 230 passengers on board to alight from the ship. 

Italy’s refusal to allow the migrants to disembark on their territory sparked anger in Paris and led French Foreign Minister Catherine Collona to accuse Italy of “Not respecting international law, nor maritime law”.

However, it is hoped that the phone call between Macron and Mattarella will begin a deescalation in the disagreement between two of the EU’s most powerful and influential member states. 

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