The right-wing mayor of Sesto San Giovanni has reversed the leftist policy of prioritising non-European Union citizens for vacant apartments and is giving them to Italians instead.
Mayor Roberto Di Stefano, along with the centre-right coalition governing the municipality, has reversed the former leftist policy which saw 29 out of 36 available apartments allocated to non-EU citizens in 2017, Il Giornale reports.
In 2018, Italians were the main beneficiaries of apartments with only two out of 39 going to foreigners. The new policy was not popular with all residents of the municipality, however.
An Ecuadorian migrant complained in court that she had previously been high on the housing list but had her application rejected by the centre-right led local government because she was not able to provide proof she did not have property in her native country, accusing the government of discrimination.
The woman was able to provide proof she did not own property in her own region, but could not for the rest of the country citing the bureaucratic mound of paperwork required to do so. Nevertheless, the court ruled that since Italians must provide proof, so must foreigners, even if it requires more work.
Report: Migrants Make up 90 Per Cent New Households over Past Decade
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The court found that requesting additional paperwork from foreigners was not grounds for discrimination.
Mayor Di Stefano commented on the ruling saying, “We have applied the law on a regular basis and any other choice would discriminate against Italians.”
The ruling was also welcomed by Italian populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini who said, “It is a ruling that respects the Italians and foreigners who respect the rules,” and added, “Now, enough with favouritism to foreigners.”
The policy of Di Stefano aligns with Salvini’s ‘Italian First’ policies which have included incentives for Italians to have more children such as the potential to receive a parcel of land after having three children in an effort to also revitalise rural areas of the country.
“A country which does not create children is destined to die,” Salvini said last July.