Italy’s controversial Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini recently said that Italy would invest “at least €1 billion” in North Africa to prevent African economic migrants from crossing the Mediterranean and entering the EU illegally.
The Italian government aims to control the southern border, which has been under chronic assault since then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took out Libya’s Coronal Muammar Gadhafi, causing civil war and opening the floodgates to Europe.
Salvini explained that the investments would focus on agriculture, fishing, and trade.
Out in the Cold
As an EU border country, Italy feels the pain of the migrant crisis more than most member states. However, after publicly inviting all willing migrants in 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has done little to help Italy to stave off the flow of largely young African men seeking the generous welfare benefits of European countries.
What many Italians perceived as a betrayal by the EU, was a major reason for the overwhelming election success of Salvini’s anti-establishment League party and its coalition partner The Five Star Movement. They were elected in part to solve the economic ails of the slumbering country, but also to provide a solution to the crisis caused by Clinton and Merkel.
A Clear Strategy
Salvini has outlined a clear strategy for solving the problem without the aid of the EU. First, implement the immigration policy of Australia and imitate the action by vigilante group Defend Europe in 2017, namely to stop all illegal immigration into Italy through intense patrolling in the Mediterranean and bringing the migrants back to North Africa.
When Australia enacted this policy, the number of deaths at sea plummeted to near-zero as the stream of migrants dried up. Italy hopes to repeat the success.
Second, by investing in and setting up activities for migrants in North-African countries, Italy hopes to bring legitimacy to its tough border policy. Salvini said that he would soon visit Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria as part of this effort.
#Salvini: Sarò presto in Tunisia, Marocco e Algeria, voglio che l’Italia torni PROTAGONISTA!
Stiamo preparando un progetto che prevede almeno 1 miliardo di sostegno all’economia e al lavoro in quei Paesi, quello che non ha fatto il Pd in anni di governo lo farà la Lega. #skytg24
— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) August 3, 2018
He also added that he has requested from the EU that “repatriation” should be part of any future EU trade deal with the North African countries.
Salvini’s plan has not been without controversy. Soft-hearted Europeans who would like to help, but not with their own money, have harshly criticized the League for being racist. The Spanish Island of Mallorca has declared Salvini to be a persona non grata, and he has been accused of creating “a climate of hate” in Italy.
Indeed, there have been reports of violence against people who look like migrants in Italy. Black athlete Daisy Osakue was assaulted recently, and the attack is suspected to be motivated by racism.
Sensible elites recognize that whenever they fail to find a sophisticated solution to a grave societal problem, the working class will try to solve it instead, but with far cruder and rougher methods.
If the EU leaders had been responsible, they would have taken the outbreaks of violence, hate, and anger in the populace as a sign of failure of their leadership and seek recourse. Instead they have chosen to blame the very people they are governing.