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‘Contradicting the idea of solidarity’: France slams Italy for unilateral plan to reopen borders to tourists

Following more than two months of statewide lockdowns, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Saturday that the country will allow entry to European tourists, while the mandatory 14-day quarantine will be scrapped from June 3.

France immediately slammed its neighbor for undermining the idea of European solidarity.

“It’s very important for us to coordinate our decisions on the European level, especially, regarding the Schengen Area. But today it’s not happening,” Castaner said.

In France, travel restrictions will remain in place until at least June 15, the minister said earlier this month. “The closure of the borders is a rule… we have to keep this protection in place, this will not change soon,” Castaner stated back then.

With 31,763 and 27,625 Covid-19 fatalities to date, Italy and France are among the hardest-hit EU nations, but the authorities in Rome seem to be in a greater rush to return to normal life and revive the stalled economy than their counterparts in Paris.

Besides opening up for European travelers, Italy will also allow shops to resume operations on Monday. Gyms, swimming pools, and sports centers are set to reopen on May 25, with theaters and cinemas to follow from June 15.

“We’re facing a calculated risk, knowing that the epidemiological curve could rise again,” Conte said as he detailed the rollback of the coronavirus lockdown. The statistics so far seem to be on the PM’s side, with Saturday’s death toll in Italy falling to 153, the lowest since March 9.

Header: PM Edouard Philippe and IM Cristophe Castaner

Original: RT

Notes: About Cristophe Castaner

A poor student, he gained his baccalauréat independently (en candidat libre) at the age of 20 in 1986.

A graduate of the Faculty of Law and Political Science of the University of Aix-Marseille, he holds a post-graduate diploma in International Business Law and a diploma in Criminal and Criminological Sciences.

After a work experience at the Banque National de Paris (BNP) in the legal department of the company, he was recruited to the management of local authorities in Avignon and Paris. In 1995 he became office manager for Tony Dreyfus, then mayor of the 10th arrondissement of Paris.

He was technical adviser to the Minister of Culture, Catherine Trautmann, in 1997 and became her principal private secretary in 1998. He was principal private secretary to Michel Sapin, then Minister of the Civil Service and the State Reform, from 2000 to 2002.

During the Spring of 2019, Castaner was criticized for his handling of the Gilet Jaune movement. During a weekend of unusually intense rioting on the Champs Elysee, Castaner was photographed in a nightclub with a young woman of indeterminate identity. The resulting scandal became a subject of intense embarrassment for the Phillipe government.

On 1 May 2019, during the Labour Day manifestations, he announced an attack of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital by demonstrators, as well as aggression of the nursing staff and a policeman. Videos and testimonies published the next day revealed that what he presented as an attack was in fact peaceful demonstrators trying to escape from police charges. Criticized by journalists and part of the political class, and accused of lying, he recognized that he should not have used the term “attack”