Salvini: Italy Once Again ‘Europe’s Refugee Camp’ as Leftist Government Reopens Ports

Salvini
ANNE CHAON/AFP/Getty Images

ROME — Matteo Salvini has sharply criticized the Italian government’s shift in immigration policy, saying that Italy is going back to being “Europe’s refugee camp.”

The leader of Italy’s populist League (Lega) party has sent out a flurry of tweets Saturday and Sunday slamming a rollback of his decrees as interior minister to curb illegal immigration, accusing the new Five Star-Democratic Party government of betraying the Italian people.

“Now the new leftist government is reopening the ports: hardly advocates of the Italians, here I see advocates of illegal immigrants,” he wrote.

On Saturday, Dario Franceschini, Italy’s new Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and a member of the Democrats (PD) sent out a tweet explaining the new policy toward migrants and NGOs.

“The government assigns a safe port to #OceanViking and the migrants will be welcomed in many European countries,” he said. “The end of Salvini’s propaganda on the skin of desperate people at sea. Politics and good international relations are back to address and solve the problem of migration.”

Mr Salvini responded by calling Italy’s new leaders “abusive ministers who hate the Italians.”

“The new government reopens the ports and Italy goes back to being Europe’s REFUGEE CAMP,” Salvini said.

At a major party rally Sunday in the northern Italian city of Pontida, Mr. Salvini continued his tweetstorm.

“Over the last 24 hours there have been more than 200 landings in Lampedusa,” Salvini said, referring to Italy’s southernmost point, the island of Lampedusa. “If they cancel the security decrees they do not harm the League but 60 million Italians,” he said.

“Today, slavers, racists, and colonizers, exploiters of women and men, are only found on the left,” he added.

The former interior minister quoted Margaret Thatcher as well as Pope John Paul II, urging Europe to rediscover its roots and its greatness.

“I send you, old Europe, this cry full of love: find yourself, be yourself, discover your origins, rekindle your roots, relive these authentic values that have made your history glorious,” Salvini said, citing a discourse by John Paul in 1982.

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