Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese | Photo:  ANSA/Angelo Carconi
Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese | Photo: ANSA/Angelo Carconi

Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese says that her government will try to improve its response to irregular migration from the Balkan route, following criticism from far-right leaders in the border region near Slovenia. She rejected claims that Slovenia does not collaborate sufficiently with Italy.

During a visit to Trieste, northern Italy, Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said Tuesday that her government would try to improve its response to migrant flows from the Balkan route. She said that migrant arrivals from the Balkan route were already "being handled rather well," but that "a few things should be fine-tuned on the Udine side," as well as along the Slovenian border. Udine is the capital of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, which is located in northeastern Italy and borders Slovenia.

Migration from Balkan route

Lamorgese was responding to comments from regional authorities in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region that problems along the border with Slovenia had increased. "We will try to manage the phenomenon [of clandestine migration from the Balkans]," she said, noting that the number of migrants seen along the Balkan route "are not as many as seen from the Mediterranean side."

The minister denied any problems with Slovenia, saying that Italian and Slovenian authorities were working "in full collaboration."

During her visit to Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lamorgese met with Massimiliano Fedriga, the governor of the province. Fedriga -- who is a member of the far-right League party -- told press that he had spoken to the minister about a growing number of issues along the Slovenian border. He said that "a new tactic is being used to take undocumented migrants to towns far from the border. Thus there must be intervention, since if we stop them at the border, they are taken back to Slovenia -- while with these new tactics, we must take measures." He also said that more attention than usual should be paid to these issues "due to the epidemic."

Udine mayor wants less migration

Lamorgese is not the only League politician from Fruili Venezia Giulia who recently criticized the Rome government for its handling of migration from the Balkans.

Udine Mayor Pietro Fontanini recently called for more government action against migraton after police apprehended dozens of men who had illegally crossed into Italy on July 10. "Municipalities close to the border," said Fontanini, "can't deal on their own with the huge pressure coming once again from the so-called Balkan route."

He also said that "Udine does not want to host anymore thousands of people who enter our country illegally due to the political choices of this government. We intend to write to the Viminale [interior ministry] and, if we will not be guaranteed concrete action, we are ready to mobilize citizens to ask for what is our right to obtain -- a constant presence at our border crossings of police forces and the army," he said.


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