Official speeches and statements - August 16, 2018
2. Italy - Bridge collapse in Genoa - Statement by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Paris, 14/08/2018)
On the initiative of Malta and France, several European Union member states - Spain, Portugal, Germany and Luxembourg - have agreed to allow the swift and safe disembarkation of the people rescued at sea by the Aquarius and the implementation of effective solidarity in taking in people needing protection.
France welcomes Malta’s exceptional humanitarian gesture and the effort of solidarity by the partners engaged in this concrete European solution which our country has made possible for more than 250 exiled people rescued at sea. The OFPRA [French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons] will be on the ground in the coming days to take in 60 people needing protection. This solution was found on an ad-hoc and voluntary basis, in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity, in line with the cooperative European approach we have constantly advocated. The solution adopted is in keeping with European cooperation, the law of the sea and humanitarian principles.
The decision was taken once again in the context of a humanitarian emergency, and it shows the importance of a long-term, sustainable mechanism for preventing repeated crises, in the context of reduced flows of illegal migrants in the central Mediterranean. France, together with its partners, will make proposals in the coming weeks for the implementation of an effective response so that everyone shoulders their responsibilities in terms of rescue, disembarkation and solidarity./.
I was extremely shocked to learn of the disaster which struck Genoa this morning, killing many people. My thoughts go to their families and close friends, and all those injured.
France stands alongside Italy and the Italians at this painful time. As the President has indicated, it is ready to provide any support the Italian authorities deem necessary.
The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs’ crisis and support centre, our embassy in Rome and consulate general in Milan are following developments in the situation on the ground in real time. Our embassy and consulate general are in contact with the local authorities to determine whether any French people were present at the scene of the tragedy.
Our compatriots are asked to reassure their loved ones and follow the local authorities’ instructions and our embassy in Rome’s Twitter feed: @FranceenItalie./.