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POLITICS

How would Italy’s idea for a new EU migrant distribution system work?

Italy's new government is pushing for an automatic system for distributing migrants rescued in the Mediterranean between European countries.

How would Italy's idea for a new EU migrant distribution system work?
Migrants rescued while attempting to cross the Mediterranean in January 2019. Photo: Federico Scoppa/AFP

The plans already have the green light from France and Germany, which would take a much higher percantage of migrants than Italy, Italian media said Thursday.

READ ALSO: How will Italy's new government approach immigration?

The plan could also involve Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Romania and Spain, La Repubblica and La Stampa dailies said.

Such a deal would put an end to case-by-case negotiations over who will take those saved during the perilous crossing from North Africa, which have left vulnerable asylum seekers trapped in limbo at sea for lengthy periods.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is expected to discuss the plan with France's President Emmanuel Macron when the latter visits Rome next week.

It will then be studied in more detail at a meeting of interior ministers on September 23 in Malta, ahead of a European summit in October in Luxembourg.

“There is great willingness to immediately reach even a temporary accord on the redistribution of migrants, which can then be fine tuned,” Conte said Wednesday during a visit to Brussels to meet European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen.

READ ALSO: 

He suggested EU countries that decline to take part could suffer financial penalties.

The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have refused in the past to take in any of those rescued at sea.

The automatic distribution system would be a temporary solution ahead of a revision of the so-called “Dublin regulation”, which assigns responsibility for migrants to the nation of first entry.

France and Germany were each willing to receive 25 percent of people plucked from flimsy dinghies in the Mediterranean, Repubblica said.

Italy would take in 10 percent – a lower proportion because it has already hosted tens of thousands of new arrivals, it said.

Should the deal take off, Rome would agree to reopen its ports to vessels which save migrants at sea, reversing a hardline stance taken by the country's ex-interior minister Matteo Salvini last year.

Under the new laws, ships that enter Italian waters without authorization face a fine of up to €1 million. The ships can also be seized.

'I migrate, you migrate, he migrates…' Protesters against another of Matteo Salvini's security decrees last year. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Member comments

  1. As long as migrants are allowed to land, there will never be an ending to this inflow of immigrants. The left cast the nationalist as racists who are responsible for deaths at sea, yet it is the very accusers who, by non-enforcement of immigration laws encourage continued attempts by these people to cross the sea. How many are too many is the question? Where do you stop and how long will it take for these immigrants to overwhelm the societies in which they wish to live? Mostly illiterate, many criminal and by and large very few who care at all for the culture of the host country or to assimilate. This is supposed to be the future of Europe? If so, it will be a future wrought with conflict, excessive taxation, tribal conflicts, and higher crime. A better solution is to stop the immigrants at their border, provide incentives to their governments, ban ALL weapon sales by European nations to corrupt regimes and the corrupt UN/EU should act swiftly and decisively to thwart totalitarian regimes. Ah, yes, but that would be counter to the whims of the German industrialists, bankers and defense contractors.

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ITALIAN ELECTIONS

Berlusconi to run for Senate in Italy’s elections

Scandal-plagued former premier Silvio Berlusconi said he plans to return to Italy's parliament in upcoming elections, almost a decade after being forced out over a conviction for tax fraud.

Berlusconi to run for Senate in Italy's elections

“I think that, in the end, I will be present myself as a candidate for the Senate, so that all these people who asked me will finally be happy,” the 85-year-old billionaire and media mogul told Rai radio on Wednesday.

After helping bring down Prime Minister Mario Draghi last month by withdrawing its support, Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia party looks set to return to power in elections on September 25th.

It is part of a right-wing coalition led by Giorgia Meloni’s post-fascist Brothers of Italy, which includes Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigration League.

Berlusconi brushed off reports he is worried about the possibility of Meloni – whose motto is “God, country and family” – becoming prime minister.

Noting the agreement between the parties that whoever wins the most votes chooses the prime minister, he said: “If it is Giorgia, I am sure she will prove capable of the difficult task.”

READ ALSO: Italy’s hard right set for election victory after left-wing alliance collapses

But he urged voters to back his party as the moderate voice in the coalition, emphasising its European, Atlanticist stance.

“Every extra vote in Forza Italia will strengthen the moderate, centrist profile of the coalition,” he said in a separate interview published Wednesday in the Il Giornale newspaper.

League party leader Matteo Salvini (L), Fratelli d’Italia leader Giorgia Meloni and Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi pictured in October 2021. The trio look set to take power following snap elections in September. Photo by CLAUDIO PERI / ANSA / AFP

Berlusconi was Italy’s prime minister three times in the 1990s and 2000s, but has dominated public life for far longer as head of a vast media and sports empire.

The Senate expelled him in November 2013 following his conviction for tax fraud, and he was banned from taking part in a general election for six years.

He was elected to the European Parliament in 2019, however, and threw his hat in the ring earlier this year to become Italy’s president — although his candidacy was predictably short-lived.

Berlusconi remains a hugely controversial figure  in Italy and embroiled in the many legal wrangles that have characterised his long career.

He remains on trial for allegedly paying guests to lie about his notorious “bunga-bunga” sex parties while prime minister.

Berlusconi has also suffered a string of health issues, some related to his hospitalisation for coronavirus in September 2020, after which he said he had almost died.

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