Italy Declares Migration Emergency


Migration to Italy in 2023 has almost quadrupled compared to the same period last year. On Tuesday, Italy declared a six-month state of emergency. Beyond that it has much greater ambitions to solve the crisis.

  • Data from Italy’s Interior Ministry shows that some 31,300 migrants have arrived so far this year, compared to 7,900 in the same period last year.
  • The day before the emergency was declared, Coast Guard-led rescue operations took in two boats carrying a total of 1,200 people.

The journey over the Mediterranean is dangerous for migrants. Just this February, 93 migrants drowned in a single shipwreck in the southern Italian region of Calabria.

Emergency aid: The state of emergency to deal with the large influx that is expected over the summer months grants additional funding of €5 million (us$5.5 million), the creation of temporary shelters, and allows for faster deportation of those not allowed to stay. But the measures are not enough.

Let it be clear, we are not solving the problem, the solution can only depend on responsible intervention by the European Union.
—Nello Musumeci, Italian Civil Protection minister

No room to spare: The 2015–16 refugee crisis dramatically changed the political landscape of Europe. Previously fringe right-wing parties rose to power as voters demanded stronger measures. Where political change was impossible to achieve, citizens expressed frustration by attacking refugee centers. Today, European governments are looking for new solutions.

Europe needs to wake up and intervene: For years it has been talking without ever moving a finger, and now it’s the time to show that there’s a community, a union, and solidarity doesn’t fall just on Italy, Spain, Greece or Malta.
— Matteo Salvini, Italian deputy prime minister

Call for Europe: Salvini noted that the crisis is unsustainable for Italy “economically, culturally, socially.” He and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni demand EU help. Specifically, Meloni seeks to safeguard the Mediterranean by shutting down migration routes and helping North African states round up migrant boats.

The crisis is inspiring the current Italian government to reach beyond its borders just as the Roman Empire did centuries ago.

Learn more: Read “Were We Wrong About Giorgia Meloni?