Italian Senator Marco Marin of the Forza Italia Party has sharply criticized Prime Minister Matteo Renzi for converting Italy into a “great parking lot of despair” through his inability to effectively address Italy’s immigration crisis.
Marin unfavorably compared Renzi’s inaction to the more decisive moves of other European states, such as Sweden, the Netherlands,and Denmark.
“Sweden has announced the deportation of 80 thousand migrants, the Netherlands intends to repatriate via train the asylum-seekers arriving into Greece from Turkey and Denmark confiscates valuables as ‘repayment’ for migrant access to welfare,” he said. “The Renzi government, however, waits, standing still, not knowing what to do.”
“The prime minister,” he added, looks out the window of his residence at the Palazzo Chigi as “our country is transformed into a great parking lot of despair.”
While the arrival of migrants into Italy “increases unabated,” Marin said, Renzi pontificates from Palazzo Chigi, leaving the Italian people “fed up with a government that not only doesn’t solve its problems, but worsens them.”
Forecasts of a tidal wave of as many as 400,000 immigrants into Italy “in the coming weeks” have Italians on edge as the Schengen treaty guaranteeing open internal European borders dissolves before their eyes.
Due to closed northern borders, Italian authorities fear the droves of immigrants arriving on Italy’s shores will have no option but to remain in Italy.
Until recently, the Italian peninsula was simply a passageway for tens of thousands of migrants looking to get to the countries of northern Europe, yet now these same migrants are finding themselves stranded in Italy because of closed borders to the north. Overnight, Italy has moved from being a passageway to a dead end.
Six countries–Germany, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Slovenia–have suspended the treaty for two years, and other countries appear ready to follow them. In many respects, Schengen no longer exists.
As a country of first arrival, Italy has more to lose from the breakdown of Schengen than any other European nation, except perhaps Greece. More than 150,000 migrants reached Italian shores in 2015 alone, but the vast majority continued north, with many heading to France, Germany, or the countries of Scandinavia.
Now that the Schengen Treaty is all but a dead letter, Italy may indeed become the immense “parking lot” feared by Marin.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.