Italy’s new right-wing government has already drawn-up plans to tackle illegal immigration, which could put it on a collision course with Brussels. One of the measures proposed could see immigrant boats being pushed back out to sea. But the Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni insisted any new legislation would be tough but fair: “We are working on a security bill that will be very strict but respectful of all the European legislation. We are aware that a just law means we need to work on the integration of non-Italian citizens.”
The community singled out by the right as being Italy’s biggest problem is the Roma. Up to half a million live in Italy, many of them illegally. They’ve been blamed for a spate of recent crimes. But the Romanian government has accused Italian ministers of inciting xenophobia.
EU law allows governments to expel European citizens who commit crimes, or don’t have sufficient funds. Italy intends to to introduce a strict means test and send illegal immigrants to jail for up to four years .