Italy is reversing tough migration policy


The Italian cabinet has largely reversed the hardening of migration policy under the previous cabinet. The stricter measures had been implemented under the direction of Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing populist party Lega and Minister of the Interior in the previous cabinet.

Salvini closed small reception centers for asylum seekers designed to facilitate their integration during his 14 months as a minister. He took the decision to allow boats to go to his ministry and imposed hefty fines on aid agencies that picked up migrants in distress at sea and brought them to Italy. Those fines have been reduced and it has now become more complicated to seize a ship belonging to an aid organization. Asylum seekers can now also find shelter and work more easily.

Salvini, whose advocacy of strict migration policies is his main focus, said the cabinet has “opened the ports (and the wallets) to smugglers and illegal migrants.” According to the ruling center-left Democratic Party, rules, about which President Mattarella had expressed doubts, have rightly been reversed. “We want a more humane and safe Italy,” tweeted party leader Zingaretti.

Partly because Covid is now a more important theme than migration, Salvini has lost influence. His Lega remains the largest party in the polls. Monday he was at almost 25 percent.

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