Aurora Bosotti and Maria Ortega, Express, July 18, 2017
Italian MP Luigi Di Maio lambasted the “selfish” EU for failing to help Italy in dealing with the thousands of migrants arriving in its ports.
The 5 Star Movement (M5S) member spoke critically about the decision to open an additional hotspot for arriving migrants in the international port of Civitavecchia, Rome.
“They’re opening up a hotspot for migrants. What does that mean? Another refugee camp there because Italy can no longer support landings in the southern ports, so we arrive to a port that is almost in front of Corse. Almost in front of French ports! ”
While the decision was revoked earlier today in response to the widespread negative response from politicians and citizens alike, Di Maio did not shy away from blaming the EU for the current situation.
“The EU has left us alone. If we rule the country, we will try in every way possible to block this arrogance and this selfishness, other than Europeanism. I have seen only selfishness in Europe, France, Germany and other countries all these months, but more today.”
“We have been welcoming. We are true Europeans. Italians are true Europeans. Sicilians have been welcoming and supportive in all these years, but we are not willing to be the fools of Europe.
The Italian Ministry of Interior sent representatives to the port on 14 July to establish whether one of the piers could be converted to welcome boats involved in Operation Triton.
Triton was created by the EU border security agency Frontex in 2014 in an attempt to expand the support network for Southern European countries welcoming a growing influx of migrants.
The operation has been often criticised by Italian politicians, especially Di Maio, for failing to lower the pressure on Italian seaports which have seen the arrival of 85,000 migrants since January 2017.
“This is a truly difficult situation, very complicated. We’ll try to address it all appropriate and competent venues. But I can see that what I’m seeing is not an intolerant Italy, but an Italy, but especially Ventimiglia, Liguria and many other places in Italy, that have taken the responsibility of other countries.
“Do not forget that France, like other European countries, promoted colonialist policies in Africa, attacked and bombarded Libya, and that caused the mass exodus we are seeing today.”
Over the past few weeks, Italy has seen an increase in arrivals which prompted citizens of Castell’Umberto in Sicily to block the access road to a local hotel at protest over the settlement of 50 migrants in the area. A similar demonstration also took place in Pistoia, Tuscany.