Sunday, August 22, 2010



Italian interior minister in favor of expelling "illegal" EU citizens 2010-08-22

ROME, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said on Saturday that he was in favor of expelling from the country "all European Union (EU) citizens" that had violated basic requirements for living in Italy.

In an interview with daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, Maroni stressed he strongly supported "the possibility of extending the push-back policy of illegal immigrants to all European citizens who breach the EU directive on the minimum conditions for living in another member state, including a minimum wage, a decent lodging and not weighing on the state's welfare system."

"For example, many gypsies are EU citizens but do not respect any of these requirements," he noted, adding that "expulsions should be allowed for all EU nationals, not only gypsies."

In brief, the minister aims to treat as illegal refugees all Europeans who are not working and contributing to the economic well-being and growth of Italy, but merely a burden on taxpayers' money.

Citing French President Nicholas Sarkozy's hard stance with regard to the expulsion of all gypsies "copying Italy's model," Maroni announced that he was "ready to do more" in the fight against illegal immigration by the introduction of "tougher measures."

Italy had recently sponsored a similar procedure of expulsion for illegal EU immigrants, but the European Commission blocked it, said the minister.

"Now we will return on the issue, which will be at the center of the next EU interior ministers' meeting scheduled for Sept. 6," he said.

The center-right government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has put the fight against illegal immigration at the top of its political agenda, implementing a controversial policy whereby sea refugees intercepted in territorial waters are pushed back.

In two years, sea landings have dropped by 88 percent. But gypsy immigration remains a critical issue after a woman was raped and killed in Rome. Several illegal camps have been dismantled by the authorities and the inhabitants moved elsewhere.

Italy's problem, however, is that many gypsies possess Italian citizenship, Maroni pointed out.

Editor: Tang Danlu

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