Thursday

9th Jul 2020

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

Support quality EU news

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.

EUobserver under attack in wider battle for EU free press

If EU citizens want to know the truth, then journalists need protection from malicious litigation, as EUobserver joined the list of targets, over an article about the late Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

MEP in police protection after Czech PM calls him 'traitor'

Three MEPs received numerous death threats in the Czech Republic for asking questions about how EU funds are being spent. One of them had his entire family under police protection after people threatened to murder his four children.

News in Brief

  1. Rushdie, Fukuyama, Rowling warn against 'intolerance'
  2. Clashes in Belgrade after new lockdown measures
  3. US passes milestone of 3m coronavirus infections
  4. France wary of any future lockdowns
  5. Lithuania bans Kremlin-linked Russia Today programmes
  6. UK nominates Liam Fox for WTO top job
  7. Italy supports Spain's Calviño for Eurogroup job
  8. France and Germany warn Israel on annexation 'consequences'

EUobserver under attack in wider battle for EU free press

If EU citizens want to know the truth, then journalists need protection from malicious litigation, as EUobserver joined the list of targets, over an article about the late Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Five ideas to reshape 'Conference on Future of Europe'
  2. EU boosts pledges to relocate minors from Greece
  3. Hydrogen strategy criticised for relying on fossil fuel gas
  4. Merkel urges EU unity to hold off economic fallout and populism
  5. The opportunistic peace
  6. EU mulls new system to check illegal pushbacks of migrants
  7. EU forecasts deeper recession, amid recovery funds row
  8. Revealed: fossil-fuel lobbying behind EU hydrogen strategy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us