PM Paolo Gentiloni Praises Italy's Migrant Policy as U.N. Cites Humanitarian Crisis

Paolo Gentiloni Paolo Gentiloni

Italy is “the only country with a decent migration policy in Europe” in recent years.

Il PM italiano Paolo Gentiloni e l’economista Mario Draghi, Presidente della Banca Centrale Europea sono recentemente intervenuti dal palco in occasione del meeting annuale dell’organizzazione “Medici con l’Africa Cuamm”, tenutosi ad Assago, nei pressi di Milano. Gentiloni ha dichiarato che l’Italia è l’unico Paese ad aver avuto una politica migratoria decente in Europa in questi anni e che come nazione deve ritenersi orgogliosa di non alzare muri e non chiudere i proprio porti ai migranti. Draghi, dal canto suo, ha difeso l’impegno a favore dell’Africa.

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni recently stated that Italy was a model for Europe on how to reduce migrant arrivals, following admissions by U.N. agencies that its policies had trapped tens of thousands of people in dire conditions in Libya.

“Italy is proud to be a good example on the issue of migrants,” Gentiloni told our Parliament last October. “We have reduced the number of people dying at sea and the number of irregular-migrant arrivals,” he also added. Sea arrivals to Italy and deaths recorded in the Central Mediterranean are down by a quarter so far this year. EU border agency Frontex said September arrivals dropped by two thirds versus a year earlier.

After more than 600,000 arrivals from North Africa - primarily Libya - in less than four years, Italy trained and equipped the Libyan coast guard. An Italian navy ship is also in Tripoli’s port to repair vessels used to turn back migrant boats.

The European Union has left Italy largely on its own to deal with Libya, where there are hundreds of armed militias and two rival governments vying for power six years after the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi.
While Gentiloni indicated that there must be an increase in resources for the migrants in Libyan camps, he added that Italy’s success in reducing migrant arrivals was “very positive.” The United Nations, on the other hand, is calling for Europe to create safe and legal pathways to Europe for refugees and migrants so that they will not try to reach Europe by making the dangerous journey through Libya.

A few weeks later, while speaking at the annual meeting of Doctors with Africa Cuamm being held in Assago, near Milan, Gentiloni told the audience that Italy is “the only country with a decent migration policy in Europe” in recent years. “We are proud of it because we do not build walls, nor close our ports” he added. “Africa,” he concluded, “is a continent in balance. It is not true that it is overcoming its problems. However, it is true that it can do it, but its success very much depends on our choices and Europe’s commitment.” Among others attending and speaking at the meeting alongside Gentiloni were esteemed Italian economist Mario Draghi, serving as President of the European Central Bank, and former Italian PM Romano Prodi. For his part, Draghi has reaffirmed a commitment towards Africa: “Following the 1980s, when the highest level of solidarity to Africa was achieved, our efforts collapsed under the weight of waste and bankruptcy, among other factors. Lately, it has somewhat resumed, but some economists continue to say that these interventions are useless or damaging: the testimonies heard today prove otherwise.”