Home » Italy declares state of emergency due to high migration numbers Migration | DW

Italy declares state of emergency due to high migration numbers Migration | DW

by admin
Italy declares state of emergency due to high migration numbers  Migration |  DW

The right-wing Italian government has declared a six-month national emergency over the rising number of migrants. This has not yet been passed, but a special representative should already be appointed and provided with up to five million euros as part of the measures by Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi.

Too many newcomers?

During the election campaign, the current government promised to take tough action against migration and not allow any more refugees to arrive in Italy. Nevertheless, according to figures from the Ministry of the Interior, 31,000 refugees have reached the country since the beginning of the year – almost four times as many as in the same period last year. They were either rescued by Italian military boats or auxiliary ships, or they reached Italy without such help.

Although the number of arrivals has increased compared to previous years and reception centers like the one in Lampedusa have overflowed, the situation cannot be compared to the situation caused by the war in Syria around 2015, says Valeria Carlini from the Italian refugee council CIR in an interview the DW. At that time, more refugees came to Italy, but a state of emergency was not declared. According to Carlini, the emergency declaration is unusual, but shows the weaknesses in dealing with a now structural phenomenon, migration. In Italy, only the government under Berlusconi had previously declared a state of emergency at the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2011.

About 3,000 refugees reached Italy over Easter

Viewing migration as an emergency is consistent with the government’s migration policy, which aims to criminalize NGOs that help migrants at sea, said Carmine Conte, legal policy analyst at Migration Policy Group, a Brussels-based think tank.

See also  Xi Jinping Congratulates Sixth Cross-Strait Youth Development Forum

The Italian government’s polarization of the debate on migration reveals the lack of a long-term and comprehensive strategy for migration that protects human rights and enables safe access to Europe, according to Conte. Valeria Carlini considers this to be short-sighted in view of an aging population. Because even the tight labor market in Italy could benefit from the socio-economic integration of migrants.

What is an emergency?

The state of emergency allows the Italian government to bypass Parliament when passing laws. Even if these laws contradict previous laws. It enables the executive branch to more easily implement measures and expedite procedures in the event of humanitarian or natural disasters, such as earthquakes.

Raffaele Bifulco, a professor of constitutional law at the Luiss University in Rome, admits that declaring a state of emergency is sometimes necessary as a last resort. In democratic systems, however, this is always a “worrying development”.

The opposition in Italy, meanwhile, never tires of pointing out that Giorgia Meloni did not mince words when such a state of emergency was declared during the corona pandemic. At that time, today’s Prime Minister even spoke of “liberty murder”.

And the migrants?

Meloni explained that with this measure, the government can more easily free up funds and aid to set up new reception, identification and return centers and thus manage the refugee movements more efficiently and speed up return processes. This also includes the establishment of at least one reception center per region. At present there are only nine such centers in all of Italy.

So far it is still unclear where exactly the planned five million euros will go. The construction of new reception centers could pose further risks, as the centers are often notorious for poor conditions and human rights violations.

According to Carlini, the five million euros were not enough for what the government now describes as an emergency. The measure only leads to an emergency-oriented management of the already ailing reception system. The general standards and opportunities for integration could also deteriorate.

The measure is also to be seen against the background of the laws recently passed in Italy. These plan to criminalize the rescue measures for migrants by non-governmental organizations. A regulation is also being discussed in Parliament that would significantly restrict a special protection status for refugees.

Conte warns that the measure could have an impact similar to that of the Salvini government’s decree in 2018. Rapid returns, most likely based on inadequate assessments of asylum and protection claims, and reduced recognition of protection status could lead to more illegal entries and to cause more deaths at sea.

Blumen am Strand in Steccato di Cutro

Many people die trying to escape across the Mediterranean Sea

Italy demands European participation

Like many governments before her, Meloni has called for more solidarity from other EU member states, as well as better coordination on migration policies.

“We must be clear that this does not solve the problem. The solution is linked to prudent and responsible intervention by the European Union,” Minister for Civil Protection and Maritime Policy Nello Musumeci told ANSA.

See also  Pensions, in Genoa ship repairs strike, march and blockade of the passage

According to the DW interlocutors, it is still unclear whether Meloni will also use the declaration of the state of emergency at the level of the European Council to demand further support from other EU countries. However, they agree that this latest step is fully in line with the government’s goal of making it more difficult for migrants to arrive safely in Europe.

Adapted from the English by Phoenix Hanzo.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy