Italy will no longer be 'Europe's refugee camp,' vows new government

Glen Norman
June 6, 2018

The improbably fast rise of the grassroots 5-Star Movement and its alliance with the right-wing, anti-immigrant League has been dubbed the birth of Italy's Third Republic, after Italy's post-war political order was largely drubbed in the March 4 national vote.

Mr Conte was destined to become prime minister last week before Whitlam-like dismissal crisis threatened to derail his prime ministership before it had begun.

Mattarella had triggered a fresh crisis at the weekend when he vetoed eurosceptic Paolo Savona as economy minister in a previously proposed Five Star-League government.

At 13 500 so far this year, refugee arrivals in Italy are down.

Italian Prime Minister-designate Giuseppe Conte addresses the media to announce his list of ministers after a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinale Palace in Rome on Thursday.

5-Star and the League have a solid majority in both houses of parliament, where the Government will now face confidence votes early next week in order to be fully empowered.

In a separate report, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) noted that Salvini will be in Luxembourg on June 5 for a meeting of European Union interior ministers with the agenda set to be dominated by discussion of the EU's controversial Dublin rule, whereby would-be refugees must file for asylum in the first bloc member-state they enter.

Conte, 53, will be officially sworn in as prime minister on Friday after Mattarella approved his Cabinet team made up of members of the Five Star, or M5S, and League political parties.

The opposition Democratic Party warned that the new government would be "Right-wing, populist and risky".

Salvini will be the new Minister of Interior, while Di Maio will be the Minister of Labour and Economic Development. Salvini has promised to reduce numbers further and speed up expulsions.

"The immigration question is still hot, so I will ask all who are concerned with it how we can improve it", he said.

Mr Salvini also visited the port of Pozzallo, where a boat carrying more than 150 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa landed on Friday after being rescued by a humanitarian group. Nigel Farage, a British force behind the successful Brexit movement, advised Italy's populists to "stay strong or the bully boys will be after you".

"We're not Martians, and we'll prove it", said the premier, who in a play on his law professor profession promises to be the "defence lawyer" of the Italian people in an "Italians first" government.

"All the conditions have been met for a M5S-League government", the two said in a joint statement.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a conference Thursday that he loved Italy, but refused to accept the frequent pass-the-blame mantra by Italian politicians that Italy's ills are the fault of the EU.

A senior League official said Savona will be likely picked for European Affairs minister.

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