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Trieste to pay families to host asylum seekers

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Trieste to pay families to host asylum seekers
Trieste is a major arrival point for migrants coming from the Balkans. Photo: Stuart Morris
10:26 CET+01:00
Authorities in the northern Italian city of Trieste, which lies close the Slovenian border, said they would pay residents €400 a month if they open their doors to an asylum seeker, as the city's hotels and publicly-owned buildings reach capacity.

The initiative, already deployed in other Italian cities including Turin and Genoa, comes as a bitterly contested deal to relocate hundreds of asylum seekers from Italy to other EU states has lagged.

In a plan put together by the city's authorities alongside the charity, Caritas, and the Italian Consortium of Solidarity (ICS), each family would have to host two asylum seekers for a maximum of six months and would be paid €400 a month for each person.

Some 700 migrants arrive in city, which is also a short distance from Croatia, each day.

“We are one of the gateways of the Balkan route," Roberto Cosolini, the mayor of Trieste, told La Stampa.

“Trieste, Udine and Gorizia: the whole region is having a significant impact from the flow [of migrants] who arrive by land.”

The city of around 200,000 residents is struggling to find accommodation for asylum seekers as boarding schools, hotels, serviced apartments and migrant centres reach capacity, prompting the appeal to local families to help.

“The families won't be left alone, they'll be assisted by Caritas and ICS," Laura Famulari, the councillor for social policies, said.

Needless to say, the anti-immigration Northern League was the first to take a swipe at the plan.

“It's crazy,” said Northern League politician Massimiliano Fedriga.

“This basically guarantees €400 per month for those who host an illegal immigrant in their home.”

The initiative also comes as Sweden and Germany grapple with accommodation issues amid the ongoing refugee crisis.

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