A poll has revealed that the Italian public overwhelmingly backs Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s decision to block the migrant transport vessel the Aquarius from Italian ports, despite negative international reaction.
The analysis, conducted by pollster Alessandro Amadori using data from surveys by the Eumetra Institute and the Institute of International Affairs, shows that a massive 80 percent of Italians agree with Salvini’s policy which has drawn ire from other European governments and the mainstream media, Affaritaliani reports.
“The data is very clear: 30 percent of Italians have a very strong position and would like all immigrants to be rejected,” Amadori said.
“Fifty percent, on the other hand, would like them to be accepted only partially and especially after a much more focused and careful assessment [of asylum claims] than the current one, with only 20 percent of Italians saying they want to welcome all migrants,” he added.
“A large majority of citizens, about 80 percent, support the positions of the executive and in particular the Minister of the Interior,” he added.
The data backs the stance of Salvini who has promised to be tough on mass migration in the past claiming that he would look to deport 500,000 illegal migrants from Italy during the election campaign earlier in the year.
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The move to block the Aquarius, which is operated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SOS Méditerranée, from Italian ports is the first major anti-mass migration decision made by the new Interior Minister. While the Italian public approves the move, many overseas have slammed the La Lega leader.
French President Emmanuel Macron called the move “sickening” earlier this week launching the first major diplomatic row between the two countries since the formation of the populist coalition between La Lega and the Five Star Movement (M5S).
Salvini responded to the French President by standing firm on his decision to refuse port access to the NGO vessel and saying, “If an official apology doesn’t arrive, Prime Minister Conte would be right not to go to France,” threatening to cancel a planned meeting between the two leaders.