In Italy, Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano set the tone. After additional tensions in the country, he wants to “accelerate the expulsions and repatriations” of migrants outside the country’s borders.
This announcement comes after the uprising that shook a migrant reception centre in Cona, southwest of Venice. The immigrants, who were protesting the insalubrity and overcrowding of the site, were particularly indignant at the late treatment of a 25-year-old Ivorian woman who had died of illness.
“We are acting with rigor and humanity: we have saved many lives but we cannot accept anybody to violate our rules,” Alfano reacted on Wednesday in an interview with La Stampa Newspaper. That is why we must speed up evictions and repatriations. I work to conclude agreements that reduce arrivals and prevent departures. ”
“There is a triangle of fundamental countries: Niger, with whom we are close to reach an agreement, Tunisia and Libya,” he said.
His colleague Interior Minister, Marco Minniti, travelled precisely in Tunisia this week to renew a bilateral agreement of repatriation, in exchange for various aids. On Wednesday, he travelled to Malta which holder of the rotating presidency of the EU in the first half of the year, talking about immigration and security.
In Italy, the minister wants to open or reopen in each region a “centre of identification and expulsion”. But this project arouses strong resistance within the Democratic Party (PD, center-left), in power in the country.
The revolt of Cona’s overcrowded migrant centre has revived the debate on the distribution of reception facilities across the country. Out of 8,000 municipalities, about 2,800 provide temporary shelters. This welcome is on a voluntary basis of some 2.5 migrants per thousand inhabitants. In return, financial aid is provided.
The small community of 3,000 inhabitants of Cona welcomed nearly 1,500 migrants. In the night of Monday to Tuesday, a hundred of them revolted, setting fire to furniture and sequestering for twenty hours about twenty employees, before the intervention of the police.
In 2016, at least 3,800 migrants died in the Mediterranean according to the UN.
Mamadou Dian Donghol Diallo.