(Reuters) – Pope Francis called on Thursday for a “change in mindset” on migration policies, saying international cooperation was vital, as Italy and France engaged in a diplomatic spat over the issue.
Francis made his comments in a message to participants at a conference on international migration being held in the Vatican. He called for the “shared global management of international migration in the values of justice, solidarity and compassion”.
Italy summoned France’s envoy on Wednesday and angrily rejected French criticism of its immigration policies, escalating a diplomatic row that is widening one of Europe’s main political fault lines.
A day after French President Emmanuel Macron said Rome had acted with “cynicism and irresponsibility” by closing its ports to a migrant ship, Italy’s economy minister canceled a Paris meeting with his counterpart and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte weighed postponing a meeting with Macron scheduled for Friday.