Tuesday

15th Jun 2021

Italy extends state of emergency over immigration

The Italian government of Silvio Berlusconi is facing strong criticism from the country's opposition over the declaration of a national state of emergency to deal with the "exceptional and persistent influx" of irregular immigrants.

The controversial measure was announced on Friday (25 July), with interior minister Roberto Maroni saying it was aimed at "intensifying efforts to combat and control the [immigration] phenomenon."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Italy's response to immigration is drawing widespread criticism. (Photo: European Commission)

As part of the move, the interior ministry plans to increase the number of intake places throughout the country - labelled "centres for identification and expulsion".

The decision came shortly after Italy passed another controversial piece of law that would make undocumented migration a criminal offence punishable by six months to four years in prison. The law also allows that property rented to such an immigrant can be confiscated.

The country's centre-left opposition political parties attacked the state of emergency, arguing it would result in "confusion and alarm" and boost xenophobic sentiment across the country.

They called on minister Maroni - a member of the anti-immigrant Northern League party - to defend the new measures before the parliament on Tuesday (29 July).

According to media reports citing interior ministry data, some 10,600 undocumented migrants entered Italy in the first half of 2008 - a figure twice as high as during the same period in 2007. Other media reports say that 350 clandestine immigrants landed in Italy on Saturday (26 July).

The state of emergency was first introduced by the previous government of Romano Prodi in 2002, but earlier this year, the measure was restricted to three southern regions of Sicily, Apulia and Calabria.

In June, the Berlusconi government also found itself under heavy criticism also for plans to conduct a census, under which all Roma people, including children, would be fingerprinted. Left critics of the move compared it to the policies of Benito Mussolini, the country's fascist leader during the second world war.

Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency

Some 14 MEPs have created a group to probe allegations of rights abuse by the EU's border agency Frontex. Its head, Fabrice Leggeri, welcomed its creation and said it "is about time".

Romania denies forcing migrant-boat back to Turkish waters

Romania's ministry of internal affairs wrote to Frontex claiming it did not engage in any illegal pushbacks of people on rubber boats into Turkish territorial waters. The country says it followed EU engagement rules and Greek orders.

LGBTI fears over new Polish member at EU institution

A letter sent to the European Economic and Social Committee by a group of cross-party MEPs fighting for LGBTi rights expresses fears that a recently-appointed Polish member may try to undermine those rights.

EU condemns Slovenian PM's harassment of journalist

Slovenia's populist prime minister Janez Janša attempted to discredit a Brussels reporter after she published a critical article about the state of media freedoms in the country. The European Commission condemned the PM's language - but refrained from naming him.

News in Brief

  1. Swiss voters reject climate change measures
  2. Spain: Thousands protest against Catalan leaders' pardon
  3. Belarus opposition leader says 'harsh' sanctions needed
  4. Far-right ex-settler becomes Israeli prime minister
  5. EU top court fast-tracks rule-of-law case to October
  6. Hungary's Fidesz wants to ban LGBTIQ content for under-18s
  7. MEPs join EU citizens on farm-animal cage ban
  8. Council of Europe urges Russia to release Navalny 'immediately'

Feature

Covid-hit homeless find Xmas relief at Brussels food centre

The Kamiano food distribution centre in Brussels is expecting 20 people every half hour on Christmas Day. For many, Kamiano is also more than that - a support system for those made homeless or impoverished.

Top court finds Hungary and Poland broke EU rules

EU tribunal said Hungary's legislation made it "virtually impossible" to make an asylum application. Restricting access to international protection procedure is a violation of EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Yemen foreign minister to EU: to stop the war, talk to Iran
  2. Brexit grumbles overshadow UK summit
  3. Former French PM to work for Russian oil firm
  4. Lobbyists push to greenwash EU rules for renewable hydrogen
  5. UN report on pushbacks draws cautious EU response
  6. Biden in Brussels, recovery package underway This WEEK
  7. Nato's biggest enemy hides within
  8. The Dutch politician suing the Dutch state for ethnic-profiling

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us