During a speech for World Refugee Day, Italian President Sergio Mattarella claimed that all Italians have a “duty” to welcome refugees.
The Italian president stressed that Italy has a “high moral and legal commitment” to accepting refugees citing it as a core principle of the Italian constitution, Il Giornale reports.
“The refugees remind us every day, forcefully, of stories of suffering, discrimination, separation from families, lands, and roots,” Mattarella said.
“Every people in its history has been the victim of tragedies of this nature. The serious difficulties that afflict peoples of regions even close to us deserve careful reflection on the causes of these tragedies and on the answers they require,” he added.
While the Italian President said it was a duty for Italians to welcome refugees he also admitted that Italy should not act alone saying action “must be coordinated and shared by the international community and, above all, at the European level”, arguing that the European Union must adopt a Europe-wide policy.
Italian President May Dissolve Parliament As Early As July https://t.co/iUpIM8vNc7
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He went on to add that the EU “must be a protagonist to develop a common policy that is able to mitigate conflicts and support the security and development needs of the peoples most exposed to humanitarian crises, through a structured partnership with the countries and communities that host refugees and asylum seekers”.
The comments come in stark contrast to those often made by populist interior minister and de-facto Italian leader Matteo Salvini who has closed Italy’s ports to migrant transport NGO ships and reduced the number of incoming migrants by upwards of 90 per cent.
Salvini’s policies have also led to a sharp decrease in the number of migrants drowning in the Mediterranean sea.
Mattarella has previously made it known he is not the biggest fan of the current populist coalition government, having initially rejected the coalition between Salvini’s League and the Five Star Movement in May year.
Following the initial rejection, many Italians took to social media to call for the impeachment of Mattarella.