France welcomes the 'Ocean Viking' with a strict device in the face of pressure from the extreme right

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France welcomes the 'Ocean Viking' with a strict device against the pressure of the far-right

Not a second of respite for the 234 men and women aboard the Ocean Viking. The boat of the oenegé SOS Méditerrannée, whose crew of refugees and migrants includes 57 minors, This Friday morning at the military port of Toulon. After this humanitarian vessel spent more than two weeks in the Mediterranean looking for a place to disembark, which aggravated the situation. Due to the fragile state of health of its crew members, in the end it was over. his “ordeal”. However, his arrival in the southeast of France was marked by a strict reception system and by the hostility of the extreme right.

The landing of the Ocean Viking occurred in a military zone, to which they did not allow access to journalists. The French administration mobilized about 600 officials and agents to organize their reception. After reaching French soil, they were received with medical attention and interrogations by border agents. From the military port of Toulon they will be transferred to an administrative center in the coastal town of Hyères. These refugees and migrants “will not be able to leave the administrative center where we will locate them and technically they will not be on French soil,” he said. The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, who was reluctant to welcome in a port of France from Ocean Viking, epicenter in the last days of the diplomatic tensions between Paris and Rome. 

After having met with agents of the administration, those people Those deemed unfit to apply for asylum will be expelled to their country of origin. Darmanin. The rest will be divided into a third in Gallic territory, where they must wait at least six months to find out if they are granted asylum. And the other two thirds will be distributed in some nine countries of the European Union, such as Germany, Belgium or Portugal. Among them is not Spain.

First humanitarian ship to land in France

The Ocean Viking represents the first humanitarian ship that docks in a French port. In June 2018, a few weeks after the investiture in Rome of the populist Executive formed by the 5-Star Movement and the League, the Italian refusal to let Aquarius dock in similar diplomatic tensions. So, the government of Emmanuel Macron, which faces this issue through a difficult game of balance between dignity and firmness – in most cases it tends to opt for a strong hand against migrants –, refused. to let him disembark in a French port and in the end he ended up doing it in Valencia.

This time he accepted reluctantly welcome the humanitarian ship, given the fragile state of healthof its crew members and for other internal political reasons, such as the recent controversy over a racist comment in the National Assembly. Instead of emphasizing the supportive and humanistic character of this decision, Paris emphasized its retaliation against Rome. Faced with the pulse of the brand-new Italian far-right Executive, the French authorities announced that they were suspending the relocation in their territory of 3,500 migrants who are currently in Italy. Darmanin hinted They said that they would benefit from this matter, since they would only take in 234 people instead of 3,500. 

“Our country has given in”

The difficult balancing act of the French Government reflects the political, ideological and media pressure of the extreme right. “Today (…) our country has given in. I think it is the beginning of a whole series of ships that will ask to be welcomed in French territory,” he declared. This Friday, Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Regroupment. In addition, he accused He called the humanitarian vessels “accomplices of human traffickers”, despite their noble task of saving migrants and refugees from drowning in the Mediterranean, where more than 25,000 people lost their lives. since 2014.

“It is a very serious and historic event,” said the ultranationalist and Islamophobic polemicist Eric Zemmour< from the port of Toulon. /strong>, who considered that “there will be a before and after this ship”, thus feeding the ultra phantom of a massive arrival of immigrants. Zemmour, an ally of Giorgia Meloni, organized This afternoon a rally was held in this town on the Côte d'Azur against the reception of people fleeing war and misery. One more example of the pressure from the extreme right to influence migration and humanitarian policies through its xenophobic postulates.