The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

Tricky barter: Italy wants to stop migrants from North Africa


Italy's Prime Minister Meloni wants to offer gas supplies to countries of origin in North Africa if they control migration more strictly. In Italy there is a state of emergency due to increasing migration.

Italy's Prime Minister Meloni wants to offer gas supplies to countries of origin in North Africa if they control migration more strictly.

In Italy there is a state of emergency due to increasing migration.

This text is available 


 as part of a cooperation with the 

Europe.Table Professional Briefing -


 first published it 

 on April 20, 2023.

Rome/Berlin – Italy has been in a state of emergency with regard to migration since April 11th.

Giorgia Meloni's right-wing government imposed it after more than 3,000 refugees had landed in Italy within three days.

The measure, which is set to be rolled out across the country for six months, gives the government extraordinary powers to speed up the process of accepting or deporting migrants.

Prime Minister Meloni wants to show that she is addressing the issue of migration.

But her concern goes beyond that: She wants to draw the EU's attention to the shared responsibility for migrants in the Mediterranean region and create pressure.

After all, Italy, with just over 40,000 asylum seekers within the EU, ranks fourth among the countries with the most applications, behind significantly larger countries such as Germany and France.

Because of the Mediterranean coast, the country is the first point of arrival in the EU for many migrants – even if they then move on to other countries.

Italy: Tough course on the migration issue even before Meloni

Domestically, there is more to it than Meloni's calculus to prove herself to her electorate.

Political scientist Giovanni Orsina from Luiss University recalls that Paolo Gentiloni's left-wing government also tried to curb the flow of migrants by signing an agreement with the Libyan government in 2017.

Meloni does not go so far as to reject migrants in the Mediterranean and thus violate international law.

Table.Media newsletter

Get 30 days free access to further exclusive information from the

Table.Media Professional Briefings

- the decisive for the decisive in business, science, politics, administration and NGOs. 

At the same time, the geopolitical relationship with North African countries is not only complex for Italy: "There is informal competition between European countries to secure energy contracts with countries like Algeria and Libya," explains Nando Sigona, an expert on migration at the University of Birmingham.

There is a whole range of political interests that in principle have nothing to do with migration, but are nevertheless linked to it.

Italy and the Mediterranean: deals between energy and migration

This mixture of migration problems and the need for energy sources is currently manifested in Italy in the so-called Piano Mattei, which Meloni wants to present in October.

The plan was named after Enrico Mattei, founder of the energy company Eni.

The Meloni government's new strategy in the Mediterranean aims to turn Italy into an energy hub and curb illegal migration.

"The Mattei plan discusses both contracts on energy sources and agreements with African countries on how to manage migration," says Sigona.

Accordingly, Meloni's first trip this year took her to Algeria at the end of January, followed a few days later by another official visit to Libya.

Last week Meloni visited Ethiopia.

From these three countries, the Mattei plan will be launched with the help of Eni.

It's often about gas, with which Italy wants to make itself more independent of Russia.

The deals are also intended to strengthen Italy's influence in African countries.

Italy also needs migrants

Political scientist Orsina criticizes that Italy is trying to shift the migration problem onto Libya or Tunisia.

There is hypocrisy here throughout Europe: "Certain types of refugees are not really wanted in public." Sigona emphasizes: "From a utilitarian, not a humanitarian point of view, Europe needs migrants." the low birth rate and the pension crisis.

This is also shown by Italy's most recent economic and financial planning document, which was published last week.

It shows that the fewer immigrants there are, the heavier the Italian national debt is.

"The paradox is that a right-wing government recognizes that migrants are necessary," says political scientist Orsina.

"But it must not be forgotten that it is an abstract discourse and that the process of integrating migrants takes time."

Meloni: "Let's let women work more"

However, at public appearances, such as at the opening of the renowned Salone del Mobile furniture fair on Tuesday, Meloni emphasizes that the labor problem will not be solved by migration - but by women working more and Italian families being encouraged to have children: "Let's leave women more work.

And then let's invest in the birth rate.”

The questions that then become relevant are: what kind of migrants does Europe want, how does it want to be integrated, and what money is used to pay for the integration of migrants?

During his visit to Poland on Monday, Italian President Sergio Mattarella said: "We need a new asylum policy in the EU that goes beyond the old, already prehistoric rules."


Isabel Cuesta Camacho for Europe.Table

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-04-22

You may like

News/Politics 2023-09-16T11:14:58.830Z
News/Politics 2023-09-18T16:55:34.634Z

Trends 24h

News/Politics 2023-10-03T19:42:04.703Z


© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.