12th Aug 2022

Italy corruption probe targets migrant centres

  • Migrants selling bags in Venice (Photo: Ben Philabaum)

High-ranking officials are under investigation for plundering funds from state-run immigration centres, as thousands of new arrivals reach Italian shores.

The Ansa news agency on Friday (5 June) reported that Italy’s undersecretary for agriculture, Giuseppe Castiglione, is under investigation, along with five other officials, for his alleged involvement in the so-called “Mafia Capitale” scandal.

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

Castiglione, who is a member of the New Centre Right (NCD) party, has denied being involved in the rigging of a public contract for the Cara di Mineo migrant reception centre in Sicily.

"For the second time in six months, I find out through the press that I may be probed for alleged involvement in the Cara di Mineo affair," he said.

Italian prosecutors last week arrested dozens of people involved in a broader affair which links Rome city officials, including a former mayor, with a crime syndicate led, from prison, by Massimo Carminati.

The crackdown comes amid a surge of new migrant arrivals as the EU-led Triton Mediterranean border surveillance mission enters into full swing.

The multinational flotilla plucked almost 6,000 people from the sea over the weekend, pushing the number of arrivals in Italy for this year alone to over 50,000.

The figure represents around a 10 percent increase over the same period last year.

Most are being disembarked in Sicily and elsewhere along Italy’s southern extremities, with local officials complaining of overstretched systems.

Fabrice Leggeri, who heads the EU’s border agency Frontex, announced last month they will deploy a regional team to Sicily to help.

The team will work with local authorities and other EU agencies, such as the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), the EU’s police agency (Europol), and EU's judicial co-operation body (Eurojust).

“What we can do is collect evidence, we can identify the migrants, collect as much evidence as possible, concerning the nationality, concerning the routing of the person, the name, the origin,” he said.

The extra help has not alleviated concerns among regional leaders.

The AFP on Monday (8 June) reported that the regional presidents of Lombardy, Liguria, and Veneto are to refuse to house new arrivals allocated by the prime minister Matteo Renzi’s government.

"We will not receive any more migrants," said Liguria’s newly elected president Giovanni Toti.

The Lombardy president, Roberto Maroni, will also warn local mayors and prefects on Monday against accepting any more "illegal immigrants".

The European Commission is pushing to make member states relocate some 40,000 arrivals from Syria and Eritrea over a two-year period in an effort to ease the pressure on Greece and Italy.

The plans, presented late last month, still need the backing of national governments and are being met with resistance from big member states, including France and Spain.

Some 220,000 irregular migrants reached Greece and Italy last year.

Among those, around 40 percent were Syrians and Eritreans. Both nationalities have a high chance of receiving asylum once in the EU.

EU to pay member states to take asylum seekers

The EU commission wants to pay member states €6,000 for every asylum seeker they take under a new relocation scheme to help Italy and Greece cope with demands.

Report: EU asylum plan likely delayed

Emergency plans for national governments next week to possibly distribute arriving Eritrean and Syrian asylum seekers will now likely be delayed for months.

Greek PM embroiled in spyware scandal

Greece has become embroiled in a wiretapping scandal that led to the resignation of its intelligence chief as well as the Greek prime minister's top aide.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts 2022 season
  2. Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey
  3. EU must beware Beijing's new charm offensive
  4. Forest fire near Bordeaux forces over 10,000 to flee
  5. Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties
  6. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  7. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  8. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us