Migrants: is Italy really the European country that welcomes the most?

From government to government we return to Italy to speak of “landings emergency”, “invasion”, recently also of “naval blockade”. And that’s what the premier Giorgia Meloni he never stopped doing, already as the leader of the Brothers of Italy he repeated that Italy was invaded by migrants, today as Prime Minister he shakes the same bugbear. Because the data says something else. Yes, it is true that Italy is the European country where more migrants arrive by sea: 90 thousand since the beginning of 2022, while there were 26,341 in Spain, 7684 in Greece and 13,474 in Cyprus, according to the latest data from the International Organization for Migration. But it is a partial fact that does not tell how many people actually decide to stay in Italy after having landed. Much less.

With the case of the two NGO ships, the Humanity 1 of SOS Humanity and the Geo Barents of Doctors Without Borders, blocked in Catania for over a week without being able to immediately bring down all the migrants rescued off the Mediterranean but only after days of referrals and proclamations, the theme of “landings” has returned to the center of the Italian and European political debate. To then raise the tone when another ship, the Ocean Viking of the NGO Sos Méditerranée was forced to disembark the 230 migrants rescued, in the port of Toulon, after Rome’s refusal to provide “safe harbor”. A decision that did not please France, which spoke of an inhumane Italian attitude, announcing consequences through the mouth of the Minister of the Interior Darmanin.

“When it comes to retaliation in an EU dynamic, something is not working. I was very impressed by the aggressive reaction of the French government, which was incomprehensible and unjustifiable»Said Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni when asked at a press conference. “What makes you angry? The fact that Italy must be the only port of landing for Mediterranean migrants? This is not written in any agreement ». Apart from geographical distances, which are often the ones that often determine the choice of safe harbor by ships rescuing migrants, there is a significant fact that makes the Italian situation explicit: that of hospitality. Based on Eurostat 2021 data, Italy is the fourth European country for asylum applications: 45,200 applications, 1,038,000 arrived in France, more than double, 148,000 in Germany, Spain 65,295,000. Italy is therefore al fourth place.

Putting the data under the magnifying glass, it turns out that in relation to the population, asylum requests in Italy are even lower. one asylum seeker for every 1308 inhabitantswhile Germany has one for every 561 inhabitants, France one for every 652. Finally, according to data from the UNHCR (the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), in Italy they live three refugees for every thousand inhabitants. And again, in the total of the Italian population, that made up of migrants is equal to 9% and almost half are Europeans. Is it really an invasion?

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Migrants: is Italy really the European country that welcomes the most?