John Paul II Foundation / Magazine / Conversations / The EU, Italy and migrants

The EU, Italy and migrants

The public has been bewildered by the rapid changes in national and European policy on the reception of migrants. From the supervised arrivals following the agreements for the European operation Sophia, to the stricter and more rational regime of the Gentiloni government, inspired by Interior Minister Marco Minniti, to the almost total closure of ports by the yellow-green government, by initiatives of Matteo Salvini, to the current situation of uncontrolled arrivals. The trouble is that there is no homogeneous European legislation to regulate the issue of immigration, although, over the past two years, at the urging of the Mediterranean countries, Europe has been struggling to create a system of reception and integration that responds to the principles of international law and those of the Treaties. But, so far, with little success, given the opposition of many member states, particularly Germany and its satellites and some Eastern countries.

The issue is now on the agenda because of the incessant arrivals of migrants from the African coast to Sicily, which have tripled over the past few years, without Europe having done much to accommodate them, and because of the increasingly frequent deaths of desperate people in Mediterranean crossings organized by human traffickers. The only recent acts have been agreements concluded first with Turkey and then with Tunisia. Money to those governments to limit departures, certainly not a model of solidarity. Therefore, it is necessary for European rulers to give up defending the selfish positions of each state and for European institutions to take the lead in operations, as they did for the pandemic and Ukraine emergencies. Only in this way will this dramatic situation be resolved. On the one hand, it is necessary to encourage the progress of the countries on the other side of the Mediterranean, and on the other hand to organize a reception and integration worthy of the name and in accordance with international laws and the traditions of our civilization. UN and EU, if you are there, strike a blow before it is too late.

Paolo Padoin, a Florentine, has worked all his life in public administration, including serving as prefect. He ended his career as Prefect of Florence. In recent years he was elected President of the Opera di San Lorenzo, being - as he often repeats - the only Florentine after the Medici to have lived in the two symbolic places of the Florentine family, the Medici Riccardi Palace and the Basilica of San Lorenzo.


"Conversations" is the magazine column of the John Paul II Foundation that brings together viewpoints on current issues, society, economics and culture. The goal is to offer a space for dialogue open to all where everyone is free to express their ideas. If you would like to contribute to the debate send us your article to the email

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