From file: Migrants hosted in the Barone precinct on the island of Pantelleria |  Photo: Lannino-Gabriele /ANSA
From file: Migrants hosted in the Barone precinct on the island of Pantelleria | Photo: Lannino-Gabriele /ANSA

Pantelleria's deputy mayor says the Sicilian island doesn't have a "structured center like Lampedusa" to host migrants. "The numbers are certainly different, but the emergency is the same."

The municipal administration of the Sicilian island of Pantelleria has supported the call for help launched by Attilio Lucia, deputy mayor of Lampedusa, to deal with the difficult situation experienced by the Sicilian islands due to migrant landings.

"It is exactly what we are experiencing on Pantelleria, where at the moment there is no structured first welcome center, like the one in Lampedusa. The numbers of the two islands are certainly different, but the emergency is identical," explained a statement released by the local administration on Thursday, August 4.

The administration said it has negotiated for months with ministries and political parties in Rome. They have been trying to get a bill moving through parliament which has been stuck for months. If passed, the bill would provide measures and more help for small Sicilian islands like Pantelleria, Lampedusa and Linosa.

The measures could be approved by parliament as part of upcoming legislation or in the budget bill.

Small islands require specific legislation

The measures in the bill are not just about migration, but trying to help the realities faced by people who live far from the center of power. But on islands which mostly rely on tourism and agriculture to survive, finding a budget to deal with migration issues can hit a local administration hard.

Pantelleria's municipal administration added that negotiations had already allowed it to "bring to the table of the prime minister's office three articles to be included in the second so-called 'aid decree' (Dl aiuti bis) that would scrap taxes on fuel, align gas prices with prices on the mainland and create a customs free zone, whose legal provisions are contained in the Lisbon Treaty."

"The microcosm of small islands presents complexities that can't be dealt with through simple recipes (for example the simple reduction of taxes). It is necessary to overturn economic, social and demographic trends, reducing material and immaterial distances and guaranteeing the constitutional principle of the respect of territorial continuity. For this reason, we have been asking for months for the suspension of excise duties and taxes on the fabrication of fuel and gas for domestic use for Pantelleria, Lampedusa and Linosa", the statement concluded.


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