For years, Giorgia Meloni has railed against migration policies of Italy, calling them overly lenient and saying they risk turning the country into the “refugee camp of Europe.”
Now that she is presumed next prime minister of Italy, migration is one of the areas where Meloni can most easily bring in sweeping change.
“The smart approach is: You come to my house according to my rules,” Meloni, of the far-right Fratelli d’Italia party, said earlier this month in an interview with The Washington Post.
Her ideas, taken together, figure to significantly tighten the doors to one of the European Union’s front-line destinations for undocumented immigrants.
While in other areas — like spending and foreign policy — Meloni would be more constrained by Europe, E.U. countries have plenty of leeway to handle their external borders, and she has long made it clear that halting flows of people across the Mediterranean is one of her priorities.
But that doesn’t mean it will be complication-free.
Efforts to block humanitarian rescue vessels from docking at Italian ports could prompt legal challenges. And if Meloni chokes off pathways to Italy, the volume of crossings would probably increase to other Mediterranean countries such as Spain — as happened three years ago when Italy was briefly led by an anti-immigration, populist government.
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