With Italy’s new interior minister Matteo Salvini warning that his country would follow “alternative paths” if the European Union doesn’t do more to take in migrants arriving from Africa, EU solidarity on the question is more than ever under scrutiny.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte made his maiden speech to parliament on Tuesday, the first time the new premier has spoken in public since he was sworn in last week:
“The first test of the new way we want to negotiate with our European partners will be the issue of immigration. It’s clear to everyone that the management of migrant flows has been a failure: Europe has allowed many member states selfish border closures, which have ended up burdening frontline states and especially our country, with costs and difficulties that should have been shared.
“We will call strongly for the Dublin Regulation to be overhauled in order to ensure that the principle of fair distribution of responsibilities is respected, and to achieve an automatic system of obligatory resettlement of asylum seekers. […]
“We are not and will never be racist. We want the procedures determining refugee status to be definite and swift, in order to guarantee their rights more effectively too.
“We defend and will defend immigrants who arrive legally in our country, who work and integrate themselves in our community while respecting the law and making a positive contribution to development. But to guarantee this indispensable integration, we must not only combat the most vile forms of exploitation linked to human trafficking […] but also reorganize and streamline our reception system, assuring transparency on the use of public funds and wiping out all infiltration by organized crime groups.
After well over a million migrants made their way to Europe in 2015, a relocation mechanism was voted through by the Commission, designed to relieve the burden on countries with a Mediterranean coast line.
It was planned that some 160,000 migrants would be relocated. In reality just 34 000 people have moved on from Italy and 22 000 from Greece.
The United Kingdom opted out. France, Germany and the Netherlands are among the countries who have taken in the most people.
Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland voted against the quotas and accepted just 26 people between them, according to official EU statistics.
Romania was the exception in Eastern Europe, welcoming over 700 people.
The migrant issue remains contentious in Italy as the country struggles to deal with the continuing flow of newcomers. This Italian politician was truly an outstanding Crusader for classical values and spoke the plain truth in the European Parliament. Its no wonder he died mysteriously…