A better life? Italy threatens to give European Union visas to 200000 migrants

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 17, 2017

Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni is said to be "livid" that other parts of Europe have refused to take a "fair share" of migrants.

"If migrants continue to arrive and Italy decides to give them papers to cross borders and leave Italy it would be a nuclear option".

The "nuclear option" of issuing temporary visas is seen a last ditch attempt to solve Italy's refugee crisis - and to force other countries to face up to their own responsibilities, The Times reports.

Two weeks after Italy reacted with anger to Austria's deployment of troops and armored vehicles to the border between the two nations, and the reactivating of border controls at the Brenner Pass over concerns that Italy will be unable to handle the roughly 85,000 migrants and refugees who have entered the country so far in 2017, the Italian government has threatened to retaliate in way that assures an imminent migrant crisis as well as an escalation of tensions between the two European Union nations with a "nuclear option".

Mattia Toaldo, a senior analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations, described the idea as a "nuclear option".

Senior Italian officials told The Times Saturday that the government has discussed exploiting European Council Directive 2001/55, which was created after the war in former Yugoslavia to give temporary protection to displaced people.

So far this year, more than 86,000 migrants have reached Italy bringing the total number in the country's detention centres to 200,000.

Speaking to The Times, Mr Giro and Luigi Manconi, a senator with the ruling Democratic Party, confirmed that the temporary visas are under discussion.

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