The Italian government says it will invest “at least €1 billion” in the countries’ economies, as announced on Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s Twitter account on August 3.
Italy should become “a protagonist” on migration policy in Europe, Salvini added. He also announced that he would “soon” visit Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria.
#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
Salvini said that the budget will be allocated to investments in agriculture, trade, and fishing.
In an interview with Sky TG24, Salvini explained that the Italian government aims to control its southern borders and “to reply to all of those who see me as Satan.”
Earlier in June, Salvini refused to let a humanitarian boat carrying more than 600 migrants enter Italy’s ports. “From now also Italy begins to say NO to the traffic of human beings, No to the business of irregular migration,” Salvini tweeted on June 10.
“My goal is to guarantee a peaceful life for these children in Africa and for our children in Italy,” he added.
The western Mediterranean route from Morocco has been the main passage route that irregular migrants use to cross to Spain and the EU. According to British news outlet Euractiv, by July 30, 23,993 migrants entered Europe through this route in 2018, in addition to 18,298 arriving in Italy alone.
The interior minister considered tackling the problem of migration to Europe from within countries of origin.
“It is not enough to close [ports] and send [migrants] back home. It is also necessary to create prospects of growth and work in these countries,” Salvini said Friday.
According to the news organization Politico, Salvini said he will make “serious and stable agreements” with African countries to deport people who did not qualify for asylum. He will also call for a law to deport asylum-seekers who committed “any sort of crime” in their countries of origin.
More than 600,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Italy by boat from Africa in the past five years, Al Jazeera reported.
The Spanish prime minister supported Morocco’s request by sending a letter to the European Union Commission, asking the body to provide Morocco with the resources it requested. EU President Jean-Claude Juncker responded that “Spain and Morocco can be assured of the full support of the EU Commission.”