Macron Cites Migration As Key Factor In Italy Vote

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File: French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a meeting with EU and African leaders to discuss how to ease the European Union’s migrant crisis, at the Elysee Palace in Paris. IMAGE: LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that “migration pressure” had played a key role in Italy’s general election which saw a surge in support for anti-establishment and far-right parties.

He said the results needed to be interpreted in the context of “major migration pressure” that had “undeniably” affected the country, which is the main landing spot for hundreds of thousands of migrants from Africa each year.

“I am cautious at this time while waiting for the Italian president to make his decision,” he said at a press conference at the Elysee Palace, referring to the Italian head of state who must now ask a party to try to form a government.

The leader of the anti-immigration and eurosceptic League party, Matteo Salvini, said Monday that his centre-right coalition had the “right and the duty” to govern after taking 37 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election.

Asked about the impact of eurosceptic parties making gains in Italy, Macron replied: “France will continue to defend a Europe that protects, a Europe of ambition.”

The French president, 40, came to power last May promising to overhaul the European Union and deepen economic, defence and political ties between members.

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