Le Pen accuses Macron of ‘hypocrisy’ over Ocean Viking

Le Pen accuses Macron of 'hypocrisy' over Ocean Viking
Photo: Anthony Choren - Unsplash

The leader of the far-right French party, the National Rally, Marine Le Pen has accused the French government of behaving hypocritically towards Italy over its refusal to allow the migrant rescue ship Ocean Viking to disembark in the country’s ports. 

News site EURACTIV has reported that Le Pen held an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in which she said that ““the French government’s accusations against Italy are deeply unfair and reveal a rejection of democracy”. 

Le Pen’s comments follow a week of tensions between Italy and France regarding the status of the migrant rescue boat. On Thursday 10 November, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin criticised Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government for its lack of humanity and professionalism. Comments such as these created a diplomatic crisis, leading Italian President Sergio Mattarella and French President Emmanuel Macron to hold a phone call to try and calm tensions. 

In the view of the National Rally leader, Rome was only trying to “respect the will of the Italian people” by refusing to allow Ocean Viking to arrive in its ports. Le Pen pointed to how in 2018, France did the same thing by refusing to allow the Aquarius migrant rescue boat to disembark, which forced it to have to sail to Valencia to do so. 

In the interview, Le Pen stated that she believed Macron’s decision to allow Ocean Viking to dock in Toulon, France, was taken because he had been “highly criticised on the left for having met Meloni in Rome” immediately after her election, and therefore “he wants to make amends”. Le Pen added that in her view the role of NGOs that try to help migrants is to be “accomplices of the smugglers”. 

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