Wednesday

15th Aug 2018

Italy in major anti-immigration push

The Italian government on Wednesday (21 May) presented plans to tighten up its immigration policy, which include making staying in Italy without permission a criminal offence punishable by jail.

The measures also include making the expulsion of immigrants easier and quicker, and reducing the time immigrants without documents can be detained in holding centres from 18 months to 60 days – raising the question of how asylum seekers will be treated.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Mr Berlusconi expects "to see the new rules implemented within two months" (Photo: Forza Italia)

Irregular immigration has been a central theme in Italy in recent months, particularly during the early parliamentary elections that took place in April and which lead to conservative leader Silvio Berlusconi's return as the country's prime minister.

Following the elections, Mr Berlsuconi appointed Roberto Maroni from the anti-immigrant Northern League as Italy's interior minister.

"The right to not be afraid is a basic one, and a state should guarantee its citizens that," the prime minister said following the first cabinet meeting of his government in Naples.

"I expect to see the new regulations implemented within two months," he added according to a Euronews report.

The EU on Thursday (22 May) declined to comment on the announced Italian immigration measures, saying it had not been officially informed by Rome yet about their precise content.

A spokesperson did however say, that the European Commission would check the new legislation's compatibility with EU law as soon as it received notice of it.

"All of this should be sent to us as soon as possible, and if we have not received this, then of course the standard procedures are infringement procedures. But this will come our way and we will then check its compatibility with EU law," said commission spokesperson Friso Roscam Abbing.

The proposals come as anti-Roma sentiment in particular has been rising in Italy in the last few weeks, prompting criticism by some EU member states, and strong condemnation by human rights groups about how the situation was handled by the Italian government.

Last weekend, Spain's deputy prime minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said that Madrid "rejects violence, racism and the xenophobia, and therefore cannot agree with what is happening in Italy."

For its part, the Romanian government is concerned that because the large majority of the Roma immigrants who have committed offences are Romanian citizens, all Romanian immigrants currently working in Italy may become the targets of "xenophobic attacks", according to Romanian media reports.

Additionally, a number of human and minority rights organisations – including Amnesty International, the Open Society Institute and the European Network against Racism – on Wednesday released a joint statement "condemning firmly the recent attacks against the Roma community in Italy that were carried out by non-state actors, as well as the statements of discriminatory nature made by high ranking Italian politicians."

Calling themselves the "European Roma policy coalition" - set up in March - they demanded "a prompt reaction by the European Commission and the European Council to these events."

Mr Maroni reacted by saying the pressure on the Italian government would not make any difference. "We do not intend to give in, not even slightly," to this pressure, he said according to Italian news agency AGI.

EU Commission skirts Italy sanctions on Roma evictions

The European Commission, as guardian of the treaties, declines to sanction Italy's treatment of the Roma following a forced eviction on Thursday of some 300 from a camp in the outskirts of the Italian capital.

Women and children's role in Islamic State underestimated

Western Europe is estimated to have 5,904 nationals affiliated with the Islamic State inside Iraq and Syria. Of those, around 1,765 have returned of which 47 percent are minors and eight percent are women, says a new report.

Schengen at stake in Austria-Germany talks

German interior minister Horst Seehofer is in Vienna on Thursday - as his plan to reject some asylum seekers was met by an Austrian threat to close its borders too.

News in Brief

  1. Salvini questions EU 'constraints' after bridge collapse
  2. Bosnian Serbs to rewrite 1995 Srebrenica genocide report
  3. Malta to allow Aquarius migrants to disembark
  4. Juncker sends condolences over Genoa bridge collapse
  5. EU pledges €500,000 more for Indonesian earthquake island
  6. EU commission in talks with states on new Aquarius migrants
  7. Man held after car crashes into UK parliament security barrier
  8. Brexit delays better readability of medicines' instructions

Opinion

The systemic risk that Europe has to face

One of the biggest systemic risks across Europe, illustrated by Hungary and Poland, is the dominance of the executive power over the judiciary and informal channels of political dependency.

Schengen at stake in Austria-Germany talks

German interior minister Horst Seehofer is in Vienna on Thursday - as his plan to reject some asylum seekers was met by an Austrian threat to close its borders too.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  2. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  3. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  4. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  5. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  6. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  8. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  12. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma

Latest News

  1. US trial sheds light on murky Cyprus-Russia links
  2. Burned cars fuel Swedish election debate
  3. EU court to hear citizens' climate case against EU
  4. How long can Bulgaria keep facing both East and West?
  5. EU commission steps up legal case against Poland
  6. Separation of powers instead of 'Spitzenkandidat' process
  7. Revealed: ExxonMobil's private dinner with Cyprus' top EU brass
  8. What Salvini teaches us about Operation Sophia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us