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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.

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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

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

An Italian centre-left election pact broke down on Sunday just days after it was formed, leaving the path to power clear for the hard-right coalition.

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

The alliance between Italian centre-left parties was left in disarray on Sunday night, potentially meaning a landslide victory for the hard-right coalition at early general elections in September.

The leader of the centrist Azione party withdrew support for the left-wing coalition led by the Democratic Party (PD) just five days after the two joined forces, saying it could not work with left-wingers brought in to boost the alliance.

Carlo Calenda, leader of Azione, withdrew his support on Sunday after PD made another pact with smaller left-wing parties including the radical Sinistra Italiana, and new green party Europa Verde.

“You cannot explain (to voters) that to defend the constitution you make a pact with people you know you will never govern with,” Calenda told newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The news was greeted with jubilation by hard-right League leader Matteo Salvini, who tweeted: “On the left chaos and everyone against everyone!”

Giorgia Meloni, leader of the neofascist Brothers of Italy party (FdI) mocked a “new twist in the soap opera of the centre-left.”

READ ALSO: Italy to choose ‘Europe or nationalism’ at election, says PD leader

Analyists predict the centre-left split could hand the right-wing bloc a landslide victory at the election on September 25th, with Meloni tipped to become Italy’s first female prime minister.

Italy’s political system favours coalitions, and while Meloni has a strong alliance with Salvini’s League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, Letta is struggling to bring together the disparate  progressive parties.

The PD is neck and neck with Brothers of Italy in the latest opinion polls, but even in partnership with Azione, the group most recently polled at 33.6 percent, compared with 46.4 percent for the right.

Political commentators said the only hope PD has now of posing a credible threat to the right-wing alliance would be by partnering with the Five Star Movement.

READ ALSO: Why has Italy’s government collapsed in the middle of summer?

However, Letta has repeatedly said this is out of the question, as he blames M5S for triggering the political crisis that brought down Mario Draghi’s broad coalition government.

“Either PD eats its hat and seeks alliance with M5S to defeat the right-wing coalition, or it’s hard to see how the right can possibly lose the forthcoming election,” Dr Daniele Albertazzi, a politics professor at the University of Surrey in England, tweeted on Sunday.

Early elections were called after Draghi resigned in late July. His government currently remains in place in a caretaker role.

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