Italy Risking ‘Ethnic Replacement’ with Low Birth Rate and Mass Immigration, Minister Warns

ROME, ITALY - DECEMBER 21: Francesco Lollobrigida, Minister of Agriculture and Food sovere
Simona Granati - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

An Italian minister has warned that the country runs the risk of “ethnic replacement” due to mass immigration and low birthrates.

Francesco Lollobrigida, Italy’s Agriculture Minister, has publicly warned that Italy must work to avoid falling victim to “ethnic replacement” as a result of mass migration and the country’s current low birth rate.

The minister’s comments have provoked outrage amongst the country’s left, who have accused the Fratelli D’Italia politician of echoing the words of “white supremacism”.

According to a report by Euractiv, Lollobrigida made the comments while speaking at the conference of the Italian Confederation of Free Workers’ Unions (Cisal), with the minister saying that Italy must be mindful of the dangers of immigration as well as its benefits.

Emphasising that, as the grandson of an emigrant, he does not see migration itself as a problem, he warned that the high levels of illegal immigration into the country in particular risked having long-term consequences regarding the country’s demographics.

“We cannot give in to the idea of ethnic replacement,” he told the conference. “Italians are having fewer children, so we replace them with someone else. That is not the way.”

He went on to push for Italy to introduce welfare programmes that “allows people to work and have families” and “support young couples to find employment”, an echo of the pro-natal policies implemented by governments in Poland and Hungary.

Despite Lollobrigida’s insistence that he does not believe the very concept of immigration to be a problem, his very noting of “ethnic replacement” has outraged the country’s left, who have immediately jumped to comparing the minister’s statements to Fascism.

“They take us back to the 1930s, these are words that have the flavour of white supremacism,” Elly Schlein, the hardline progressive leader of Italy’s Democratic Party, remarked.

Schlein — who has been billed as Italy’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in English-speaking media — went on to describe the comments as being particularly problematic considering Italian President Sergio Mattarella’s visit to Auschwitz on Tuesday, and called on Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to distance her Fratelli D’Italia party from the comments.

The likelihood of Meloni rolling back her subordinate’s comments seems unlikely though, with she herself publicly warning about the danger of “ethnic replacement” in the country before becoming PM, never mind the fact Lollobrigida is married to her sister.

Overall, the comment represents the latest instance of the Fratelli D’Italia-led government drifting rightwards since being elected into office in 2022.

Despite having billed herself and her party as being similar to Britain’s progressive-leaning Conservative Party while campaigning last year, Meloni appears to have largely abandoned any suggestion she is similar to the UK’s pro-transgender government, passing numerous bills that may well qualify as hate speech if they were read out loud on the streets of London.

Such an approach to politics appears to be working extremely well for the ruling party, with support for Fratelli actually rising substantially since it was put into office last year.

The party now sits at a near record-high popularity rate of 29 per cent, ten points higher than the second most popular outfit, Schlein’s Democratic Party.

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