Europe

Salvini tries to put focus on migration ahead of Italy’s snap election


Italy’s controversial former inside minister, Matteo Salvini, has tried to place migration on the agenda forward of the nation’s snap election subsequent month. 

He visited Italy’s southernmost island, Lampedusa, and claimed simply 15% of present migrant arrivals qualify as refugees. 

Salvini additionally voiced concern {that a} migrant reception centre on Lampedusa was nearing collapse attributable to overcrowding, calling it “unworthy of a civilized country”. 

The centre has a capability of round 350, however there are presently 1,500 individuals staying there. 

“Lampedusa is the gateway to Europe, it cannot be the refugee camp of Europe,” Salvini informed reporters after a go to to the island on Thursday.

“Who has the right to come to Italy, comes by plane, not on a boat at the risk of his life. Who does not have the right, does not come”, added the chief of the League political social gathering, which desires asylum requests to be made within the international locations that the migrants are leaving. 

Italy’s forthcoming election

Salvini is pledging a return to his tough-on-immigration insurance policies ought to the right-wing coalition win the 25 September parliamentary vote.

The early elections have been pressured after his right-wing anti-migrant League social gathering, together with two different events, yanked their help for outgoing Premier Mario Draghi’s 17-month-old pandemic unity authorities.

During Salvini’s brief however dramatic tenure as inside minister in 2018-19, migrant arrivals in Italy dropped sharply as he pursued insurance policies of deterrence, together with lengthy authorities delays in assigning protected ports to rescue ships.

He is presently on trial in Sicily, charged with kidnapping in a single such case, whereas the fees have been thrown out in one other.

“I do not forget that in 2018, 2019, immigration was completely beneath management. The battle towards human traffickers and smugglers was completely efficient,” Salvini said.

While his League led the right-wing coalition in Italy’s 2018 election, it sank in popularity after joining Draghi’s consensus government.

It is now lagging badly in the polls behind another right-wing coalition partner, the far-right Brothers of Italy led by Giorgia Meloni.

That leaves Salvini fighting for political relevance. If the right-wing coalition wins the 25 September vote, the leader of the party with the most votes would be tapped as premier to form a new government.

Is migration a problem in Italy?

The central Mediterranean is the deadliest migration route in the world, with nearly 20,000 deaths and disappearances since 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Italy has recorded more than 42,000 migrant landings since 1 January, compared to nearly 30,000 in the same period last year and 14,400 in 2020.

And the pace doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The NGOs SOS Méditerranée, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Sea-Watch have rescued more than 1,000 people at sea in recent days.

MSF’s Geo Barents ship is currently transporting 659 people, including more than 150 children.

After nine days at sea, the Italian authorities allowed it to dock in the port of Taranto, MSF announced on Thursday. 

“This extended interval of blockage at sea is among the longest ever skilled by our staff. This should not occur once more,” the NGO tweeted.

In a joint statement issued on Wednesday, the NGOs called on the EU to resume search and rescue activities to help them respond to the influx of migrants.

The EU ended its controversial operation to combat human trafficking in the Mediterranean in 2020, replacing it with Operation Irini on maintaining the UN arms embargo on Libya.

“The elimination of European search and rescue assets (…) has confirmed to be lethal and ineffective in stopping harmful crossings,” regretted Xavier Lauth, director of operations of SOS Méditerranée.



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