Sea Watch 3 charity vessel rescues migrants at sea 24 December

Migrant situation fracturing Italy


The increasing number of asylum seekers is putting the country under pressure and the cracks are starting to show. The centre-left accuse the government of improvisation over the migrant situation, whilst President Mattarella again asks the EU for a bloc approach to the issue.

Decreeing a state of emergency and putting the regions under external administration is not a solution to the problem of how to manage the increasing number of migrants and refugees arriving in Italy, Emilia Romagna Governor and President of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) Stefano Bonaccini said on today.

 “(The government) has now introduced a state of emergency, but this problem cannot be handled by special commissioners.

“I hope the government will reconsider and sit down to discuss,” said Bonaccini. He is one of four regional governors who rejected the appointment of Valerio Valenti as commissioner delegate for the state of emergency for migrants in their regions. Valenti is head of the Interior Ministry’s Department for Civil Liberties and Immigration.

Bonaccini said it seems the government is in a state of “total confusion” on migration. “There are no resources and there is no planning,” said the governor. “I am really worried because I am seeing improvisation,” he concluded.

Government united in approach to migrant situation

Italy’s right-wing coalition government remains united on its approach to migration, Deputy Prime Minister, Matteo Salvini said.

“We are working in total agreement with the majority: welcoming those fleeing war is sacrosanct; fighting the smugglers, traffickers and gangsters is equally fundamental to saving lives,” said Salvini.

“The data tell us that the special protection invented by the yellow-red government (led by Giuseppe Conte from 2019 to 2021) does not work,” the minister added.

Four regions led by the centre-left refused to accept Valerio Valenti’s appointment as commissioner delegate for the state of emergency. The regions are also protesting against the construction of new pre-removal detention centres on their territories. All this, Salvini said is not in the interests of their citizens.

“I hope the regions led by the left will act in the interests of their citizens and not just conduct ideological battles,” he said.

EU needs to overcome “prehistoric” norms on migrants

Today, President Sergio Mattarella urged the European Union to overcome what he called “prehistoric” norms on migrants. He wants the bloc to introduce a new asylum policy amid rising stress on Italy from increasing migrant flows.

What is happening on the migratory flows front, with the great influx not only in Italy, “requires that the problem be tackled together, as a European Union problem. Because the EU can do it with coordinated action.

“We need a new asylum policy, overcoming old rules that are now prehistory”, said Mattarella speaking in Warsaw.

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