Italy's politician hits out at EU over immigration "chaos"

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-15 05:16:03|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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ROME, June 14 (Xinhua) -- A prominent member of the populist, euro-skeptic Five Star Movement said Wednesday the European Union (EU) must "prove itself useful to Italy" on immigration, which is wreaking "chaos" in the central Mediterranean country.

Five Star politician Luigi Di Maio, who is the deputy speaker of the Lower House of parliament, made the remarks after meeting with 27 EU ambassadors in Rome.

The Five Star Movement is still reeling from its disastrous showing in last Sunday's local elections, which saw strong advances by center-right coalitions led by the anti-immigrant, anti-EU Northern League party.

"We want other European countries to know that Italy will be in the European Union as soon as the European Union becomes useful to Italians," Di Maio told reporters in televised comments after meeting with the EU ambassadors.

"The issue of immigration is the issue of the European Union," Di Maio said. "If we don't solve this, Italian citizens will be more and more convinced the European Union doesn't serve any purpose."

Di Maio mentioned the fact that some EU countries are refusing to take in refugees from Italy and Greece under the EU Refugee Relocation and Resettlement Program.

He added that "the real problem is repatriations" of migrants whose claims for political asylum get turned down.

"Italy doesn't repatriate anyone because immigration is a business...and this is generating chaos," Di Maio said.

Di Maio's words led to speculation that the Movement, which prides itself on being an alternative to what it says are Italy's corrupt traditional parties, is courting Northern League votes and even contemplating an alliance with the right-wing party led by Matteo Salvini.

This was borne out by an interview with La Stampa newspaper out Wednesday, in which Five Star MP Carlo Sibilia said "there could be a convergence with the Northern League" on immigration.

"We are closer to the (Northern League) than to the (ruling) Democratic Party, which I hear wants to repopulate Italy's deserted villages with migrants," Sibilia told La Stampa.

Five Star founder and leader Beppe Grillo, however, gave the idea of working with other parties a thumbs down.

"The Five Star Movement does not enter into alliances," the comedian wrote on his blog, where the Movement conducts its political business.

He invited those who disagree to leave the Movement and "look for another party willing to field them as candidates".