At the same time they deny asylum rights to migrants by interdicting at sea, the EU need to stop being diplomatic with the Italian fascists less they appear (and become) yet another weak body that failed to stem European fascists. Or does that interfere with their Neoliberal outlook, which will end in authoritarian capitalist corporate states, hmmm-
A proposal to introduce racial segregation on trains, trams and buses in Milan provoked an outcry from Italian opposition politicians today. The scheme was put forward by a representative of the anti-immigrant Northern League, the prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s main ally in government. Matteo Salvini, the league’s secretary in Milan, told a rally to launch his party’s European election campaign that he wanted “seats or carriages reserved for the Milanese” on local public transport.
Dario Franceschini, leader of Italy’s biggest opposition group, the Democratic party, said: “One’s thoughts go back to the affair of Rosa Parks, the black woman who refused to give up her place on the bus and inspired Martin Luther King’s struggle.” Salvini tried to downplay the row, insisting: “It was just a provocation to say the residents are now in a minority and, as such, need safeguarding.” But the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, spoke of a “worrying” increase in intolerance, while the opposition Italy of Principles party called on the government to disown the idea publicly.
However, Berlusconi, whose government is already under attack for its immigration policies after the Italian navy returned to Libya more than 200 boat people without letting them apply for asylum, said: “Salvini himself has said it was a quip, a provocation.” The interior minister, Roberto Maroni, a Northern League member, hailed it as a “turning point” in his battle to stem the flow of immigrants through Italy’s Mediterranean islands. But the UN and human rights groups accused the government of violating international treaties to which Italy is a signatory.
On Thursday the occupants of three boats adrift, reportedly in Maltese waters, were escorted back to the Libyan coast by Italian naval vessels. It was the first time that Libyan authorities were known to have accepted back migrants who set off from their coast. The shift appeared to reflect recent agreements between Berlusconi’s government and Libya. According to UNHCR, three-quarters of migrants who arrive in Italy by sea apply for asylum and, of those, half are recognised as genuine refugees. Maroni said that, in the latest instance, Italy was not bound to consider the asylum requests because the 227 migrants had not reached Italian waters,
But the UN’s high commissioner for refugees, António Guterres, said the operation was a “source of very serious concern”. Human Rights Watch said Libya had a terrible record in dealing with migrants, who it said were sometimes subjected to indefinite detention “in inhuman and degrading conditions”. The EU justice commissioner, Jacques Barrot, carefully avoided joining the chorus of protest. He said his department was still gathering information on the circumstances.