By: V4 Agency
The right-wing Lega party’s new migration strategy contains proposals to reach agreements with the EU, to shut down ports and to process asylum applications outside Italy.
Italy’s centre-right and ruling parties have joined forces to develop a new strategy to tackle illegal migration. Although Lega will initiate dialogue, it will not change its fundamental views on issues in dealing with migration.
Immigration remains a serious problem for Italy. 5,668 illegal immigrants have arrived on the country’s southern shore since the beginning of this year, compared with 2,553 in the same period last year and 287 people at the beginning of 2019.
Having familiarised himself with the centre-right party’s plan, PM Mario Draghi approved the programme of Lega party chief Matteo Salvini, which is a huge step forward in tackling migration. The plan would allow the closing of ports and speeding up the deportation of migrants into their home countries. According to PM Draghi, the key is to preserve the current equlibrium between the coalition parties, especially the Democratic Party and Lega, until the end of the coronavirus crisis. As the two parties have a completely different approact to migration, compromises will be needed to effectively deal with the crisis.
To maintain the status quo, Mario Draghi allowed Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese, a politician with no political background, to remain in office. The prime minister has also appointed three deputy ministers to support partisan politics: Carlo Sibilia from the Five Star Movement, Ivan Scalfarotto from Lega and Nicola Molteni from Viva Italia. The move was meant to ensure that the three biggest coalition partners will have the same say in internal affairs.
IM Luciana Lamorgese said Tunisia needed European economic investment to discourage locals from setting off for Europe.
Now is not the right time to enact new laws and regulations, “so changes need to be made primarily in an operational aspect. If the number of people who set out increases, this will obviously lead to a higher death toll at the Mediterranean Sea, which we definitely want to avoid,” deputy Interior Minister Nicola Molteni said.
Luciana Lamborgese has also exposed the fraudulent practice of certain NGO vessels. These ships tend to pick up stranded migrants and keep them on board for days, until their ships become overcrowded and health problems emerge. At this point, the NGOs request docking permission from Maltese or Italian coast guards, citing a humanitarian emergency.
Lega MPs say the current policy must be changed, mainly because figures show an alarming upward trend and Italy could soon see another migrant influx and a growing number of incoming ships during the summer. NGOs are also a problem: three NGOs that are active in the Ionian Sea are being prosecuted for colluding with human traffickers or accepting money in exchange for taking migrants on board.
Lega says these issues can only be solved by closing ports and processing asylum applications outside Italy. Lega agrees with what the prime minister said in his maiden speech: “we will work for more repatriations in line with the European Union and the asylum pacts that override the Dublin Regulation”.
By introducing a new inoculation policy and blocking the export of vaccines, PM Draghi has demonstrated that he is determined to protect national interests, Lega said.
Lega will continue to call for putting an end to illegal migration, but it will not support any confrontations within the government in times of crisis. Lega believes that Italy needs a constructive dialogue, which would make it possible to implement the party’s border protection plans in a relatiely short amount of time.