Migrants sent back from France to Italy in Claviere, near Turin. Credit: ANSA/ALESSANDRO DI MARCO
Migrants sent back from France to Italy in Claviere, near Turin. Credit: ANSA/ALESSANDRO DI MARCO

Relations between Italy and France continue to be tense over the situation at the border between the two countries. Rome has once again accused French police of pushing back into Italy migrant minors when they cross the border, violating the Dublin regulation. France has denied the allegations.

The Italian interior ministry and mayors from the border area of the Val di Susa have accused France of pushing back into Italy migrant minors when they cross the border, violating the Dublin regulation. 


This is the latest chapter in escalating tensions at the border, in the area of Monginevro. 

Ministry sources spoke about an ''attempt'' to send back into Italy a number of teens, while mayors and humanitarian associations said such practice has been occurring for a while. A controversial episode dates back to October 18, when French police officers allegedly attempted to reject minors but were stopped by Italian authorities. 

However, French authorities have denied the allegations. They said that unaccompanied minors, who are included on the list of migrants that do not have permission to enter France, are nonetheless not pushed back into Italy when they cross the border. They are instead ''systematically entrusted to departmental facilities for minors and are not handed over to the Italian authorities. 

This was the case for two migrants under age 18 on October 18 as well'', the prefect's office for the department of the French Hautes-Alpes region said in a statement Wednesday, denying accusations made on Tuesday by Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. 

Red Cross, 21 minors sent back in 2018 

Discussing the alleged incident on October 18, Salvini said ''who knows whether Pierre Moscovici will be shocked by this too, or whether the EU commissioner saves his upset only for a just battle like the one of the mayor of Lodi''. 

The interior minister was referring to Sara Casanova, who has stood by controversial new regulations in the northern Italian city that have seen the children of many migrants unable to have access to school canteens and school bus services. "What is emerging in Claviere - added the minister - confirms that nobody has the right to give lessons to Italy on humanitarian rights." 

According to the Red Cross, 21 minors have been pushed back by France into Italy since the start of the year at the border of Monginevro. The Red Cross said the minors were intercepted by officials in Oulx and Bardonecchia. ''Unfortunately, there is nothing new'', said the mayor of Oulx, who is in charge of the area's consortium Con.I.S.A. providing social assistance, Paolo De Marchis. ''I met them personally in Beaulard: three boys, including one under 18, said they were left at the exit of the highway''. 

Accusations of forging documents 

According to lawyers from the Association for juridical studies on immigration (Asgi), some young migrants in Valle di Susa said French police forged their date of birth on papers used to send them back to Italy. This alleged 'practice' had already been reported by a number of French associations monitoring the area of Ventimiglia. ''We would like to meet Minister Salvini to also discuss the humanitarian issue'', explained De Marchis. 

Police officers have been deployed at the border between Italy and France since Friday, under interior ministry orders, after incidents now being investigated by Turin prosecutors. Meanwhile, prefect Massimo Bontempi, the director of the central directorate on immigration of border police, visited Claviere Tuesday.
 

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