Italy's Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini announced his intentions Thursday to present a measure that will force "little ethnic shops", as he terms them, to close by 9 p.m. Salvini, who also serves as Interior Minister, added this amendment to his immigrant-targeting-security decree.
Salvini claims this was not an initiative against foreign shops, but an initiative to limit the abuses and irregularities of certain shops, most of which are run by foreign citizens that have become havens for "people who raise hell."
"(There will be an amendment) for the closure by 21:00 of those little ethnic shops that in the evening become a meeting place for drunk people and drug dealers," said Salvini, who added that he had them near his home and other Italians probably have them too.
Salvini described those who gather at such establishments as people "who drink beer and whisky until 3 a.m. and raise hell."
"They piss and shit everywhere, it's not polite," added Salvini in one of his regular Facebook addresses.
President of the pro-European political group ALDE Group, Guy Verhofstadt, condemned the proposal on Twitter, calling it "racism dressed in fake patriotism."
Salvini has been one of Europe's most vocal populists and continually blames lawmakers in Brussels for allowing the refugee crisis to spin out of control. Salvini joined Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban in launching a joint anti-migration manifesto ahead of next year's EU elections.
Italy has seen the brunt of refugees fleeing North Africa via the Mediterranean Sea. Italy received 67% of all EU migrant arrivals in 2017, taking in 119,000 in total. Since the start of 2018, Italy's migrant arrivals has dropped significantly, with just over 20 thousand coming to Italian shores up to September.
“People like Juncker and Moscovici have ruined Europe and our country,” Salvini said in Rome last week. He added that his far-right League party is “trying to change this Europe from the inside.”
Salvini said on BBC's HARDtalk in September, that Italy only has room for the 10% of migrants who are "genuinely fleeing war." He stressed the need for discussing agreements with countries, from which migrants are fleeing, that include aid, development, and voluntary repatriation.