Italy’s interior minister is Europe’s answer to President Donald Trump with an even more hardline stance on immigration than his American counterpart.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who took the position in June, said that he vows to cut off the entirety of illegal migration by boat during a press conference with Ahmed Maiteeq, Vice President of the Presidential Council of Libya, on Thursday.
“My aim is not to have even one boat come here,” he said. “The goal is for people who have the right to come to Italy, to come here by plane, preferably in first class.”
Salvini called on The United Nations to remove its arms embargo on Libya in order for the North African state to be able to fight smugglers and end the tide of migrants fleeing by boat from Libyan shores, Reuters reported.
“People smugglers and arms smugglers obviously ignore it and arm themselves as they wish, while the only ones who are blocked are the legitimate authorities,” he said.
More than 640,000 migrants have reached the shores of Italy since 2014, and it is something that both Salvini and Maiteeq said that they want to see end.
“We do not accept that people say Libya is not helping with immigration but at the same time keep in place an embargo that is hindering us,” Maiteeq said.
Salvini instructed the Italian authorities responsible for immigrants to not issue many new permits on humanitarian grounds.
“I have personally asked for speed and attention in welcoming those who are really fleeing from war, but also that those who don’t have the right to stay should be blocked,” he said.
“If we don’t block the flows from the south, it is a problem for everyone, so I hope next Thursday to awaken Europe’s conscience on the need to intervene urgently,” Salvini said. “The situation is dangerous.”
But he does want to help legitimate asylum seekers, he said. “I have always said I am in favor of humanitarian corridors and will continue to be so,” Salvini said. “I want a regulated, safe and sound immigration process for those who have a right to come to Italy.”