The Italian government has declared a six-month national state of emergency to manage the influx of migrants arriving on the country’s southern shores. The decision was made due to the overwhelming number of migrants arriving in Italy, especially on a tiny Mediterranean island. The government has approved an initial funding of €5 million ($5.5 million) to address the issue.
The government also plans to appoint a special commissioner to oversee the situation. The measures will help the government take extraordinary actions to reduce congestion and process and repatriate migrants who do not meet the criteria to stay in Italy. The announcement comes after a Cabinet meeting headed by Premier Giorgia Meloni.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Italian government also imposed a state of emergency, enabling the Cabinet to quickly implement coping measures by decree. This bypassed the otherwise lengthy parliamentary process for funding and regulations. The state of emergency declared now is expected to grant the Cabinet similar flexibility to manage the migrant situation.
The declaration of a state of emergency in Italy comes as migrant numbers continue to surge, causing a strain on the country’s resources. The government’s immediate response is to allocate resources to manage the situation, but the challenge of processing and repatriating migrants who do not qualify to stay in Italy will require a long-term plan.