Migration is a divisive issue in Italy where arrivals have almost quadrupled since 2019. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte called the new pact “an important step towards a truly European migration policy.

“The European Council needs to achieve a true balance of solidarity and responsibility. Assurance on relocation is needed: first arrival countries cannot manage migration flows alone in the name of the whole EU”, said Conte. Politicians and civil society organisations have welcomed the “positives”.

The Commission’s proposal was also welcomed by Italian European Affairs Minister Enzo Amendola, who said this was “a turning point and negotiations will be difficult and delicate. But Italy is on the front line”.

Italian civil society organisations also see the proposal as an interesting starting point.

“There are some positives,” according to Caritas Italia, such as “not leaving all the responsibility of migrant reception on front line states”. It remains clear to them, however, that the proposal remains “a compromise, as there are countries which cannot accept the vision of an open and welcoming society.”

At the same time, the anti-migrant narrative has proved successful for League leader and former deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini. Although his party is no longer in government, it has been leading the country’s polls for over a year.

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