French President Emmanuel Macron (l) meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (r) in Paris.
French President Emmanuel Macron (l) meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (r) in Paris.

The two leaders came together during a time of increased tensions. Macron had criticized Conte's decision to not let the migrant rescue ship Aquarius dock in Italy.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte met in Paris on Friday to discuss the migrant crisis in Europe. 

The chaos surrounding the Aquarius ship in the Mediterranean made its way into the discussions. The ship, which is carrying 629 migrants  was not permitted to dock in Italy earlier this week. It still has not docked but is on its way to Spain.

Macron criticized the move, calling the Italian government's behavior "irresponsbile." Italy threatened to pull out of the meeting after Macron's comments, but both leaders agreed to continue with the meeting on Thursday following what they described was a cordial phone call. Conte said the situation has since cooled down and it was "time to turn the page" on the dispute.

Bringing their proposals to the table

Conte leads a newly-formed populist government and wants stricter policies against migrants coming to Italy. Macron is more pro-Europe, and is looking at tougher migration policies for people arriving from African countries not at war. 

Conte said Italy is drafting its own proposals to overhaul the current European Union (EU) asylum and immigration policies. He said it will be revealed in July.

The meeting comes just two weeks before an EU summit. There are few signs that European leaders are close to coordinate their asylum policies. The EU has a self-imposed deadline for the end of the month to update asylum rules. Following Friday's meeting, Macron said "the existing system doesn't work."

 

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