Italy Gets Tough on Euro Immigrants

November 14, 2007 04:51 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A brutal murder in Rome with a Romanian suspect highlights a continent’s unease at the westward flow of migrants from newer member states in the European Union.

30-Second Summary

The Italian government has declared that it will expel European Union citizens whom it judges to be a danger to the public.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano described the legislation as a necessary action to combat “episodes of heavy violence and ferocious crime.”

The ruling follows the rape and murder of a 47-year-old woman in Rome. The suspect in the killing of Giovanna Reggiani is one of Italy’s many Romanian residents. The incident has uncorked resentments that have been brewing since Romania joined the European Union in January 2007.

According to Die Spiegel, Rome’s Mayor Walter Veltroni said, “In the first seven months of the year, Romanians made up 75 percent of those who raped, stole and killed.”

In October, Italian newspaper Corriere della sera reported that the number of legal immigrants in Italy had risen by 21.6 percent in the previous 12 months. Romanians make up the largest population of foreign nationals in the country.

The EU has been expanding eastwards rapidly in recent years, with 10 former communist countries joining in 2004 and Romania and Bulgaria acceding this year.

Italy is experiencing tensions felt elsewhere in the EU, prompted by developments in migratory patterns on the continent.

Britain is one of the countries to have become particularly concerned about immigration from the new accession countries. According to U.K. paper The Daily Telegraph, 20 times more immigrants than the government expected came to work in Britain after 2004.

Headline Links: Italy cracks down on intra-European migrants

Reaction: The European parliament

Background: Britain and 2004 EU expansion

Opinion & Analysis: Is intra-European immigration a problem?

Reference Material: Romania, Italy and the European Union

History: The growth of the European Union

Related Links: Immigration in Switzerland and Europe’s rightward swing

In November 2007, the Swiss nationalist party the SVP won the largest share of the vote in any Swiss national election since the end of World War II. Some commentators judge this victory to be indicative of a Europe-wide swing to the right, prompted by concerns about immigration. For more on this issue, see the Beyond the Headlines story “Swiss Nationalists Thrive amid Europe’s Immigration Concerns.”

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