Rome, Aug 9 (Ajit Weekly News) Giorgia Meloni, head of the Italian populist party leading the pre-election polls, has said that boats leaving the North African coast carrying migrants should be blocked at sea.
“The best solution to this problem is to prevent the departures and not the arrivals. A blockade of the departures would be more efficient,” dpa news agency quoted Meloni, leader of the Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) as saying in a radio interview on Monday.
According to current polling, Meloni’s party enjoys support equivalent to that of the League, headed by right-wing populist Matteo Salvini, and Forza Italia of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, taken together.
The three parties have formed an alliance to contest the September 25 elections, while the political forces on the left and in the centre are currently in disarray.
Meloni and Salvini have made migration and refugees a key issue in their campaigning, as the number of arrivals from North Africa continues to be high.
The migrants are often brought ashore by private rescue operations or the Italian coastguard.
Meloni called for camps, or hotspots, to be set up in North Africa to check the migrants before they leave the continent.
“We could certainly talk to the Libyan authorities about this,” she said.
In a controversial opinion piece in the Corriere della Sera daily on Monday, Meloni contrasted the current wave of migration into Italy with Italians migrating abroad in decades past, saying Italians had gone in search of work, whereas the current migrants aimed to live off the state.
According to reports, Italy receives the majority of refugees and asylum seekers who reach Europe.
In the first six months of this year, 27,633 refugees and migrants arrived in Italy by sea, compared to 20,532 in the same period in 2021, according to figures by the UNHCR.
In June 2022, 8,152 persons were registered at landing points in southern Italy. This is a slight decrease compared to May 2022, when 8,720 refugees and migrants reached Italian shores.
Most persons arriving in June disembarked in Sicily (6,625 persons), followed by Calabria (1,405), Sardinia (108) and Apulia (14).
–Ajit Weekly News
News Credits – I A N S