EU Court Annuls Berlusconi’s Jail Terms for Illegal Migrants

Monsters and Critics (Glasgow), April 28, 2011

Italy cannot jail illegal migrants who flout an order to leave the country, the European Union’s Court of Justice ruled on Thursday–removing a key plank of Rome’s hardline policies on immigration.

Implementing a campaign promise to get tough on illegal migrants, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right administration introduced a law in 2009 making illegal overstay in the country a crime punishable by one to four years in prison.

But jailing migrants contradicts an EU directive on repatriation, whose main objective is ‘to set up an effective policy to drive out and repatriate third country nationals whose stay (in the EU) is irregular, while respecting their fundamental rights,’ the court said in a statement.

Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni–whose Northern League party routinely leads calls for tougher policies on migration–protested against the ruling.

‘I am disappointed because, first of all, other European countries criminalize illegal residence and they have not been censured,’ he said in Verona, according to the ANSA news agency.

French and British law does foresee detention for illegal migrants waiting to be deported, but in special illegal migrants’ centres rather than in ordinary prisons.

‘Today, again, Europe made our life more complicated, rather than giving us a hand,’ said Maroni, who last month questioned Italy’s EU membership after partners in the bloc refused to take some of the Tunisian illegal migrants who landed on its shores in recent weeks.

‘Why are they only targeting Italy?’ the minister asked.

A spokeswoman for the EU court of justice told the German Press Agency dpa that the situation in other EU members had not been taken into consideration because it had been asked to rule on a specific Italian case.

EU judges had been called by an Italian court in the northern city of Trento to give an opinion on the case of Hassen El Dridi, an Algerian who in 2010 was ordered to leave Italy within five days because he did not have a residence permit.

Having ignored that order, he was handed down a one-year prison sentence, which El Dridi appealed against.

The EU court–delivering its opinion in under three months, using a fast-track procedure introduced in 2008–ordered judges in Trento to ‘disapply’ the jail term prescriptions contained in Italy’s immigration laws.

Italy’s migration laws may take further knocks in the coming months, as the EU court said it is due to deliver 11 more fast-track opinions on legality of the country’s repatriation procedures.

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  • Seneca the Younger

    Italia, mio amici, why are you even listening to the EU? Who cares what they say, they are polishing the brass on the Titanic anyways. Look out for you and your own first. That is what the people want, ignores the quasi communists in the EU.

    A better solution would be not to let them land at all.

  • Anonymous

    The European Union has not army or police force; it functions through agreement alone. It will not be long before the EU collapses as a political force. The Euro as a currency could continue separately, but there would be no real harm if Europeans nations went back to their own national currency. They’re over-playing their hand, just asking for it.

  • Ben

    I’m really interested in following the stories concerning Europe.

    Can anyone give a non biased account into how exactly the laws work in Europe, the particular states, and each state in relationship to the EU?

    Can the EU override legislation that the countries (or “states”) do? Is a state vs. Federal Gov. dichotomy?

    Thanks.

  • Kenelm Digby

    Now you can all see that the EU is nothing but a heap of garbage, that is putting the Italians in an impossible quandary.

    Firstly, the EU executive (which supersedes the Italian government), forbids Italy from preventing immigrant entry or from sanctioning them for the crime of illegal entry.Italy is forced to turn them loose. They all gravitate to France – which is more amenable to them. In theory, the French can’t do a thing to stop, due to the fact that the EU decrees ‘open borders’.

    Therefore, basically, all EU member states are powerless to do anything to stem the immigrant flood! – yes, you read it right, the EU nations have been hamstrung and have no means of response, because of the pontifications of EU elitists.

    The immigrants know this and are taking full advantage.This initial trickle threatens to become a flood.As Nick Griffin said either two things will happen in the next ten years:

    1. Either the EU goes. Or,

    2. Europe will be totally, overwhelmingly and irrevocably overrun by third world immigrants.

  • Pat

    On 1st May all immigrants from the former Soviet Bloc, (Poland, Hungary, etc.) will be entitled to claim full welfare benefits the same as indigenous populations. The EU imposed a ban on this in 2004 but it has now been lifted. We have an estimated 1 million living here. The International Relations Centre in Warsaw says ‘ the new rules will benefit Poles and is another reason they will never leave the UK’. An article in the Sunday Times last week quotes a Polish barman who is on his way here on the 1st if the benefits will give him more than his £450 a month wages in Poland. An Hungarian woman is glad she has something to fall back on! It is apparently going to cost this country £30 million per annum. You couldn’t make it up, could you Ben? There is nothing apart from leaving the EU that we can do. The main parties will not countenance this ever. Until we all vote UKIP or similar, we are a lost cause.

  • Martel

    Pat wrote: “Until we all vote UKIP or similar, we are a lost cause. ”

    Been true since Enoch Powell. But Brits won’t vote in the saving right-wing parties because too many are so stupidly afraid of being called “racists”, however unjustified and their enemies know it. I expect in the decades to come Britain’s white progeny will pay big time for this cowardice.

  • Anonymous

    “On 1st May all immigrants from the former Soviet Bloc, (Poland, Hungary, etc.) will be entitled to claim full welfare benefits the same as indigenous populations.”

    This is great news for Hungary-they’re likely to lose most of their Gypsy population.

  • Pat

    @ Martel – I wouldn’t say cowardice so much as brainwashing. The Government, education establishments and the mass media (especially the BBC) have been at it incessantly for more than two decades. Anything alarmist re immigration is swept under the carpet so most people just get on with life and do not realise the long term effect. The Soviet bloc I mentioned are the LEGAL ones, the illegals have various ‘human rights’ organisations to look after them. Battles on all fronts.

    @ Anonymous ( Hungarian gypsies) – I believe we have them already begging in the Tube stations. Not that I go to London any more, completely foreign place to me now.

  • Ben

    @ Kenelm Digby

    Thanks for the reply.

    Question…

    How does this whole dynamic play into the United Nations. Do the countries get represented by Eu through the U.N.? I heard they don’t.

  • Anonymous

    European ‘democracy’ and ‘law’ are whatever the elite want – just like in the US – we, and they, have an elite who HATE us, and see ‘us’ whether we are italians in italy, english in England, or native white americans in America, as ‘the enemy’ in the way of their plans and thirst for power. It’s not going to stop until they are out or we are dead. It does not matter what law you pass, what one BNP politician does, or what one law passed by legislators do (in response to popular will) the elite will keep doing what they want.

    In America, for example, they claim removing Christmas trees is a matter of separation of Church and state. How does this account for similar behavior in Europe, where there are nominal state churches?