04 April 2018
Italy summons ambassador in diplomatic row after French police cross border to test migrant for drugs
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France said it had a right to use the facility at the Bardonecchia train station west of Turin, citing a 1990 agreement.
But Italy shot back, saying just this month it had told French customs authorities that the station room was now off limits because a humanitarian aid group was there to provide care and counselling for migrants seeking to make the dangerous Alpine crossing into France."
See:Italy summons ambassador in diplomatic row after French police cross border to test migrant for drugs - Foreign ministry describes behaviour as 'unacceptable' and warns future cooperation has been undermined (Independent,link):
And: French armed officers spark Italy migrant row (BBC News, link): "French border agents entered - armed - the clinic run in Bardonecchia, forcing a migrant to a urine test and intimidating our doctor and the mediators and lawyers," the medical organisation which operates a clinic at the premises, Rainbow for Africa, said."
Analysis of the event and the context in which it took place: Crossed boundaries? Migrants and police on the French-Italian border (OpenDemocracy, link) by Martina Tazzioli:
"BARDONECCHIA, ITALY The strengthening of migration controls at the internal frontiers of Europe is not a smooth affair. Far from only trying to gain control over migrant crossings, EU member states are reshaping border policies to project sovereign power and support state prerogatives, such as anti-terrorism. This work has included the implementation of bilateral agreements between national police forces, as well as measures aimed at intimidating solidarity networks that support migrants. The forced entry into a room of the Bardonecchia railway station, located a few kilometres inside Italy, and the diplomatic row that followed glaringly shows the political stakes that are behind inter-state border cooperation.
I was there, conducting interviews with the NGO Rainbow for Africa for my research project on migrant solidarity networks, when the police burst in. It is a small room that Rainbow for Africa uses, with the authorisation of the municipality of Bardonecchia, to host migrants at night as they try to cross into France. The French customs officers arrived around 8 pm. They had guns and Tasers, and they were holding a Nigerian citizen that they arrested on the train. Their right to enter, they said, was based on a bilateral agreement signed with the Italians in the sixties."
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