ROME: Italian President Sergio Mattarella criticized “incoherence” in Europe over the reception of Afghan refugees into the EU, and expressed “dismay” at the situation at the border between Belarus and Poland, where around 2,000 people are trying to enter the bloc.
During a speech given in Siena at a ceremony for the opening of the local university’s 781st academic year, Mattarella praised the institution’s “significant” decision to take in a number of Afghan students.
He contrasted it with what he called a “strange misalignment, incoherence and contradiction in many parts of Europe with respect to the principles of the EU, between proclamations of solidarity (for Afghans) and a refusal to receive them,” referring to the standoff playing out between Warsaw and Minsk.
“What is happening at the EU border is disconcerting,” Mattarella said, adding that it “contrasts the intentions of the founders of the EU” and shows “a huge and surprising gap with the founding principles of the EU.”
Mattarella’s remarks follow repeated criticism by the Italian government of the EU’s attitude towards migrants.
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Enzo Amendola told Arab News he believes that “the behavior of Belarus must be sanctioned in the most firm way. I believe that the EU must act, and offer concrete solidarity to both Poland and Lithuania.”
At the last European Council meeting in Brussels, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said that “the management of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has demonstrated the EU’s poverty on migration.
“Europe, united by many principles, is unable to tackle the problem and this is a thorn in the very existence of the bloc,” he added.