The S. F. Cabrini primary school in Lodi, Italy | Photo: ANSA/Daniel dal Zennaro
The S. F. Cabrini primary school in Lodi, Italy | Photo: ANSA/Daniel dal Zennaro

Italian and foreign nationals have equal rights to access social services, a ruling by Milan's appeals court has confirmed. The case made national headlines after migrant children in the city of Lodi were effectively barred from eating at their school canteen.

An appeals court in Milan has rejected an appeal filed by the Italian city of Lodi relating to the right of foreigners to access social services such as school meals.

A court had already ruled in 2018 that the city had been discriminatory and had ordered it to allow non-EU citizens to apply for social services under the same conditions as Italian citizens. The city of Lodi subsequently appealed that decision.

Read also: Lodi: A city divided over discrimination of migrant children

'Measures were discriminatory'

On December 29, the appeals court's presiding judge Maria Cristina Canziani backed the 2018 decision which said that measures in the Lodi regulation had been discriminatory.

According to the Italian Association of Juridical Studies on Immigration, ASGI, it was the first decision by an appeals court on the matter, after several decisions issued by courts of first instance ''had already confirmed this principle.''

'Italians and foreigners must be treated equally'

In a statement published this week, ASGI said that the ruling ''highlighted ... the principle that each citizen needs to be able to access social services."

The organization also stated that "Italians and foreigners must be treated equally: equal in their duty to provide information on their income and assets; equal in being subject to controls; but first and foremost, equal in their right to access social services without being victims of unreasonable requests which, most importantly, go against the State's legislation.''


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