Relations between Italy and France hit a new low this week, with Rome accusing French border guards of illegally crossing the border to “dump” unwelcome migrants inside Italian territory.
On Monday, a delegation from the Italian interior ministry was expected in the Italian mountain village of Claviere, 80km north of Turin, to investigate increasing reports of illegal crossings by French officers.
“The French are trespassing, dumping migrants at their pleasure … but Italy is no longer the refugee camp of Europe,” said Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, as he ordered a fresh military deployment to check the border on Sunday.
Italian authorities claim that French officers disregard the frontier line as well as standard refoulement procedures for migrants, often dropping them in the woods between Claviere and the French town of Montgenevre.
To defuse the tensions, Christophe Castaner, the newly-appointed French interior minister, said he wished to improve border cooperation but called for more stringent measures against undocumented immigration, supposedly in Italy.
“We have to be more efficient in the expulsion procedures of illegal migrants or those whose asylum request have already been denied,” he told Journal du Dimanche.
The Italian government’s hard line on migration has come under fire by French President Emmanuel Macron, but Castaner has tried to refrain from engaging in a spat with Salvini.