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Tajani: «I understand those who leave, but this emergency must be addressed. And Italy cannot do it alone» (Corriere della Sera)

Tajani: «I understand those who leave, but this emergency must be addressed. And Italy cannot do it alone» (Corriere della Sera)
Tajani: «I understand those who leave, but this emergency must be addressed. And Italy cannot do it alone» (Corriere della Sera)

ROME « Do you know what the only truth is?»

Which is the only truth, Minister Tajani?

“That the immigration emergency is the biggest problem we shall face in the coming years, probably decades. Beyond speculation or internal political controversies, Italy cannot do it alone».

Nor can it stand by and watch while people die a few metres from our coastline, though.

“Of course not. And in fact we do not stand by and watch. Do you know how many rescue interventions the Guardia di Finanza and the Coast Guard carry out in our seas? In 2022 they carried out 1,170 law enforcement interventions, in which they recovered 38,507 migrants, as well as 917 search and rescue interventions, with 57,028 migrants rescued. We have saved thousands and thousands of lives, and all Italians know it, but unfortunately we do not always succeed. Among the thousands of desperate people who rely on criminal smugglers, some unfortunately do not make it. As in the shipwreck at Steccato di Cutro».

What really happened on that coast?

«The judiciary will do its job, we will see whether there are responsibilities or whether – as I believe – it was a tragic, terrible fatality. Frontex had only reported a vessel with one person on board that did not appear to be in trouble. In the open sea, after having passed through the territorial waters of many countries. But does anyone really think that, if the danger had been known, our authorities would not have intervened, as they have done many times, with great professionalism and scrupulousness?»

There are those who think that the government’s attitude, that “do not leave or it is worse for you”, sounded like an indirect message to those who should be saving lives.

«But this is really just political speculation. The “do not leave” warning is addressed to those who take a terrible risk often without even knowing it. How can you think that a respectable person like Minister Piantedosi, a scrupulous and attentive man who has faced so many crises, who works on every aspect, can think that the fault lies with those who leave and not with the criminals who put them at risk?»

Do you understand the reasons of those who leave, even risking their lives?

«Humanly speaking, of course I understand them. But serious politicians must take a step forward and understand what can be done to contain and solve an immense problem».

And is there a Council of Ministers held in Crotone?

«We will hold it this week, also to give a signal, but no one has a magic wand. There are at least two different levels of interventions».

Which ones?

«One is what we can do as a country. Every mission of ours, every visit, every international meeting has the issue of immigration at the top of the agenda, at the centre of Italy’s foreign and security policy. Not only in terms of countering the departures that risk turning the seas into graveyards, but in terms of helping countries that are suffering huge crises. Both Prime Minister Meloni and I have been several times to Africa and the Mediterranean to sign agreements, to unlock aid especially for Tunisia which, in financial crisis, risks becoming a powder keg, to stabilise Libya. Most recently, in the United Arab Emirates, we have mediated to mobilise new aid for countries in need. We are also very active on the Balkan route: on Friday I will be in Bosnia-Herzegovina».


«We cannot do it alone. We can sign agreements with individual countries to encourage the repatriation of illegal immigrants, offering in return an increase in regular flows to get a workforce here and give a safe way out to many who are pressing, from Iran and Syria to the various crisis scenarios in Africa, like Tunisia, but also the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Bangladesh. But much more is needed».


«First and foremost, we need Europe. We need the UN. We need the Monetary Fund. I repeat, it is a global problem, it is not just Italian».

The Italian response, however, seemed to be one of closure: no to NGO ships, no to departures….

«The NGOs have nothing to do with the shipwreck in Calabria. It is not a route covered by them. And the “no tp departures” is precisely to prevent crowds of desperate people from turning their desire for salvation into death. But if we do not face this emergency together, Italy cannot do it alone».

You are therefore united. No doubts about Minister Piantedosi?

« No doubts at all. We are united because there are not a thousand solutions. Indeed, let the opposition provide them, if they have any. It is too easy to speculate on tragedies like these and cry for resignation. We are in the field every day to open our country to more controlled and safe arrivals, but the pressure is such that there can be no single response, often purely demagogic. Famines, wars and earthquakes are not the fault of this government. Instead, we propose a great Mattei Plan for Africa. None of us underestimate or evade the problem. We deem it the most problem the world shall face».

  • Author: Paola Di Caro
  • Header: Corriere della Sera
  • Place: Rome