In her Feb. 20 letter, “Havoc forecast for migration to EU,” Marguerite Moquin is slightly misguided. As an Italian myself I follow the situation closely. Italy does not need more help from the European Union. It is a developed country and can handle easily the recent migrants from North Africa.
It is the Italian government’s duty to protect its borders and process asylum applications according to EU law. EU law stipulates clearly that asylum seekers need to be processed in the first EU country they enter. Italy has asked the EU (especially northern European countries) to take on most of the current and future immigrants. This is strictly against EU immigration law and policy. It is also not fair.
In 2010, Germany granted 40,000 people asylum; a small country like Sweden (9.5 million population) took 30,000; and Belgium (10.8 million), 20,000. During the same year Italy took in only 7,000 people! Considering the status quo, Italy can handle easily the 4,000 Tunisian migrants cited by Moquin. It is, however, typical of Italy’s current rightwing interior minister to hunt for votes by stoking fear with forecasts of migrations of biblical proportions. They do this all the time!
Italy should process asylum applications swiftly and apply the law. Where applicable, grant the right of residency and integrate migrants into Italy’s workforce. Italy has one of the oldest populations of Europe and should make every effort to turn immigrants into law-abiding and hardworking Italian citizens.
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