The following text is an adapted version of the speech given on 21st November 2023 in the Italian Chamber of Deputies in front of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani, the Minister of the Interior Matteo Piantedosi, and the Minister for Regional Affairs Roberto Calderoli.
The Italian government has reached an agreement with Albania, signed on November 6, 2023 and approved by the Italian Council of Ministers on December 6, 2023, for the management of migrants who seek to reach Italy illegally.
This is a long-standing problem for Italy, as evidenced by the fact that the current Minister of Transport, Senator Matteo Salvini, is still on trial for defending national and EU borders when he was Minister of the Interior.
Under the memorandum of understanding, Albania will grant Italy free of charge some areas in which the latter will build structures for the assessment of the prerequisites for the recognition of international protection and for the repatriation of migrants who do not have the right to enter and stay in Italy. A maximum of 3,000 migrants may be present in Albanian territory at any given time. The management of the structures will be the responsibility of Italy in accordance with Italian and European regulations.
Immigration is one of the modern era tragedies: we cannot pretend nothing is happening, we cannot turn a blind eye, but we must govern it, because this is what the Italians are asking us to do. Cardinal Matteo Maria Zuppi rightly stated: “A reception system must provide security for those who are welcomed and for those who welcome”. Therefore, it must also provide security for Italy, which welcomes it!
We in the League are always willing to work with anyone who wants to do good for Italians and for all European peoples; we are willing to work even with socialists of good will, such as Edi Rama. We thank Albania, which demonstrates that it has understood, with a concrete action, the spirit of solidarity that must animate the European Union and extends its hand to our country. Unfortunately, it is sad to note that even today it is the same European Union that shows (as too often happens) that it has not fully understood it.
Some European countries should learn from Albania! I hope that soon members of the EU will follow the example of Albania, contributing to the management of migration flows in the interest of Europe and the migrants themselves. It is necessary to limit landings, to limit deaths at sea and to combat crime, to combat human trafficking through orderly and programmed flows.
This protocol represents another step forward in the management of migration flows in the Mediterranean. We are on the right track in the direction of combating illegal immigration. Katarina Barley, social democratic vice president of the European Parliament, has also stated that “outsourcing the management of migrants is not always wrong”. Even the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has expressed a positive opinion on this agreement. It must represent the opportunity to start a decisive path towards closer and more solidary European cooperation, both within the European Union and with other countries in the European continent. A further important step towards blocking departures and blocking wild NGOs, which want to impose immigration policy on sovereign countries – something that is in contrast to our Constitution, which provides that sovereignty belongs to the people.
In Africa, 1.2 billion people live, in the Middle East, 400 million. If only 1% were to land on the Italian coasts, we would have 18 million arrivals. Lombardy has 10 million inhabitants, Molise less than 300,000, Valle d’Aosta just over 100,000. Could we afford it? I don’t think so…