After earlier doubt, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has maintained his lunch meeting in Paris on Friday with French President Emmanuel Macron, as the two leaders appeared to calm a high-profile diplomatic row over sharp criticism from Paris over Rome's decision to refuse sanctuary to migrants saved at sea by an NGO.
Italian economy minister Giovanni Tria cancelled planned talks in Paris on Wednesday with his French counterpart while in Rome France's ambassador was summoned to a meeting with the foreign ministry amid the row sparked by President Emmanuel Macron's sharp criticism of Italy's decision to refuse entry to migrants aboard an NGO sea rescue ship.
Italy has accused France of 'hypocrisy' after French President Emmanuel Macron blasted Rome for 'cynicism and irresponsibility' in disallowing a humanitrian organisation's ship from disembarking at an Italian port the more than 600 migrants it has rescued at sea.
Martine Landy is charged with aiding two underage Africans to illegally enter France, in latest case involving activists assisting migrants.
Earlier this month the body of a 20-year-old Nigerian woman was found floating in the river Durance, in the foothills of the French Alps. Blessing Matthew had crossed illegally into France from Italy along a treacherous route of mountain passes increasingly used by desperate migrants. From witness accounts, it appears likely that Blessing drowned in the icy waters of the Durance while attempting to escape from one of the frequent border patrols which local migrant support groups say employ dangerously heavy-handed methods. One week later, the body of a man believed to be a migrant was found on a nearby mountainside. Mathilde Mathieu reports from the Alpine region where it is feared the springtime thaw may reveal yet more fatalities.
Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo has demanded that President Emmanuel Macron take action to provide alternative shelter for thousands of migrants who are sleeping rough in squalid conditions in the north of the capital, a situation which France's citizens’ rights ombudsman, Jacques Toubon, has denounced as a denial of fundamental human rights.
Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into incident when French customs officers turned up at Italian town to confront a migrant.
A study by London-based human rights charity Refugee Rights Europe questioned almost 300 migrants about their conditions living rough on the streets of the French capital, with many respondents complaining of a climate of fear amid physical attacks, racial abuse and sexual assault.
New arrivals in France lack rights and help in navigating minefield of bureaucracy, French MPs have been told.
Since 1999, an estimated 170 migrants desperately seeking a clandestine passage across the Channel to Britain have died in road accidents in and around the port of Calais in northern France, 37 of them since 2015. One former police officer said the situation became so grim “it was humanly impossible to pick up more bodies from the road”. One of the most recent victims was a 22-year-old Eritrean whose mutilated body was found on a motorway last month after he was run over by a truck whose driver fled the scene. Elisa Perrigueur reports from Calais, where she met with Biniam's relatives as they prepared the return of his body home to north-east Africa.
A recent battle between groups of migrants in Calais left 21 people injured, including five with gunshot wounds. Four were left in a critical condition. Local voluntary groups on the ground say that the situation in the Channel port town has got worse in recent weeks, notably after a visit by President Emmanuel Macron and because of a policy of not allowing any new migrant camps to spring up. Elisa Perrigueur reports from Calais.
Interior minister Gérard Collomb told reporters in Calais that he blamed 'totally organized' gangs for the fight that left 22 injured, some seriously.
Casualties were shot during fight involving Afghans and Eritreans who had been queueing for food handouts.
Abdullah Dilsouz, a 15-year-old Afghan who had a legal right to enter the UK under family reunification legislation, was one of three asylum-seekers to be killed over recent weeks on the roads around the French port, as NGOs say migrants are taking increasing risks to cross the Channel amid worsening living conditions.
French President Emmanuel Macron said in July he wanted emergency shelters 'everywhere' for homeless migrants by the year's end, but while failing that target, with thousands continuing to sleep rough in cities and woodlands, the government is now focussing on tougher measures to expel migrants and also to prevent them entering the country from Africa.