Italian PM wants to deport Roma, MEP Romeo Franz calls his behavior racism and the shame of Europe
Deutsche Welle reports that Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, an ultra-right populist, instructed regional authorities this week to produce maps of what he called "illegal settlements" inhabited by Romani people around the country. The data is meant to serve as the basis for conducting his previously-announced "census" of the Roma.
That "census" is then meant to create the background material for the process of deporting all Roma who are not originally from Italy. German MEP Romeo Franz, who is himself of Romani origin, sharply objected to Salvini's current policies yesterday as racist.
Salvini issued the order on Tuesday for regional authorities to prepare "a report on the presence of settlements of Roma, Sinti and other itinerants" for the ministry within two weeks. Franz expressed his objections from the floor of the European Parliament.
"Salvini wants to implement expulsion of Romani people on the basis of their ethnicity. That is illegal," he said during plenary session.
"We all know who did such things in the past and what aims they were pursuing. Salvini will be ejecting innocent people onto the street," Franz said.
"I am calling on the European Parliament to express itself in far stronger terms against antigypsyism and to take action against antigypsyists, including Salvini. His policy is an attack on European values, it is a disgrace for Europe, it is racism," the MEP said.
According to the Council of Europe, about 120 000 - 180 000 Roma and Sinti live in Italy, more than half of whom are fully integrated into mainstream society. The Italian organization Associazione 21 Luglio says that in 2017 about 26 000 people from these groups were living in emergency shelters or encampments.
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