Former Italian Prime Minister and leader of the Forza Italia party Silvio Berlusconi has put his support behind a plan to revitalise the economies of Africa in order to prevent mass migration to Europe.
The former Italian Prime Minister said he would support a plan for European Union countries to invest in African countries in a Marshall Plan-style agreement that would stop the economic incentive for mass migration, Il Giornale reports.
He said that the plan would be on the agenda for the European People’s Party parliamentary group in the European Parliament, in which Forza Italia is a member.
Berlusconi also praised European Parliament president Antonio Tajani, who is also Italian.
“It would be a huge advantage for us to have a character like Antonio Tajani, so included in Europe, to protect our interests, unlike what happened in recent years,” Berlusconi said.
“We need a new authority in Europe. There is not in Italy today a personality so esteemed by the whole European community. At a time when so many people shout ‘honesty honesty’ and then do not practice it, having a non-criticizable and honest premier like Tajani is a guarantee for everyone,” he added.
Italy Elections: Berlusconi Declares He Will Deport 600,000 ‘Time Bomb’ Illegal Migrants https://t.co/VbLq3zCeeQ
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The concept of an African Marshall plan is not new and has been advocated by German Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller for the past year, along with Tajani.
Not all leaders in Europe are keen on the idea, however. When asked about the feasibility of such a plan last July, French President Emmanuel Macron said investment would not solve all of Africa’s problems.
“The Marshall Plan was a reconstruction plan, a material plan [for a stable region],” Macron said, adding: “The problems Africa faces are completely different … and are civilisational. What are the problems? Failed states, complex democratic transitions, and extremely difficult demographic transitions.”
Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, partnered in a coalition with the populist La Lega, is largely expected to win Sunday’s national election, but polls show the coalition two percentage points away from the 40 percent needed to form a government.