The former Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi has always been a controversial figure who doesn’t ‘hold back’ when it comes to commenting on current affairs, and in his latest remarks he has called for 600,000 illegal immigrants to be ‘kicked out’ of Italy.
The country is currently approaching hotly contested national elections, and like so many other European territories at the moment, immigration and indeed EU membership are at the heart of every single debate.
Right-wing figures like Matteo Salvini have already mentioned the possibility of removing more than ‘half a million’ illegal immigrants in the event of a Lega Nord victory, and coverage of these remarks both internally and internationally has showed that there is a real public appetite for the issue to be discussed at the very least.
Berlusconi’s comments are also likely to cause further debate about the issue, and according to Westmonster he said:
“Immigration has become an urgent question, because after years with a left-wing government, there are 600,000 migrants who don’t have the right to stay.
“We consider it to be an absolute priority to regain control over the situation.
“When we’re in government we will invest many resources in security. We will boost police presence and reintroduce the ‘Safe Streets’ initiative… Our soldiers will patrol the streets alongside police officers.”
He has also launched a scathing attack on the European Union, by saying:
“Today, Italy counts for nothing in Brussels and the world. We will make it count again.”
Whatever the outcome of these elections may be, it goes without saying that two formerly ‘taboo’ subjects have become acceptable topics of public debate once again.
Events of the last few years have empowered people to raise concerns about immigration, although there will always be those who instantly throw accusations of ‘racism’ in their general direction.
Looking at the United Kingdom in particular, the Brexit referendum has also encouraged people who are anti-EU to speak out without the fear of being accused of being someone who wants to ‘restore disharmony in Europe.’