Premier Giorgia Meloni, during a congress at the Senate on November 24, 2022, in Rome | Photo: ANSA / MAURIZIO BRAMBATTI
Premier Giorgia Meloni, during a congress at the Senate on November 24, 2022, in Rome | Photo: ANSA / MAURIZIO BRAMBATTI

Italy's prime minister has once again spoken about immigration in an interview to the newspaper Corriere della Sera, adding that she will not withdraw a defamation complaint against writer and journalist Roberto Saviano.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said that some sea rescue NGOs represent a "driving factor" in "illegal" migration flows, with consequences both on arrivals and deaths at sea. The interview was published on November 29.

"I think a serious nation cannot tolerate these illegal phenomena," the prime minister added.

'Aid going to those who have money to pay traffickers'

Meloni noted that the "approach of some NGOs, which undertake a mainly ideological activity that has little to do with international laws on rescue" operations "at sea, finds a natural convergence with the interests of traffickers."

The prime minister went on to say that, "with this type of management of the phenomenon, aid in the end is given not to those who need it but to those who have the money to pay traffickers."

Meloni also pointed out that just under 100,000 people have so far landed in Italy in 2022, in addition to those registered each year over the past 10 years.

Also read: Meloni says her idea of naval blockade part of EU Sophia mission

Suit against Roberto Saviano for criminal defamation moves forward

The prime minister was asked during the interview whether she intends to withdraw lawsuits against intellectuals and journalists, including Roberto Saviano, who attacked her on the immigration issue.

Saviano earlier this month went on trial for calling Meloni a "bastard" after she said NGO-run vessels that had tried to rescue migrants should be sunk. Meloni had sued Saviano for criminal defamation.

"No, I don't think so," she replied. Meloni explained: "I filed a complaint when I was the leader of the opposition. I did it not because Saviano had criticized me on immigration but because, in a shameful attempt to blame me for the death at sea of a child, he called me a 'bastard' on prime-time television. And when he was asked whether that word wasn't a far cry from the right to criticize, he repeated the concept."

"I don't understand the request to withdraw the complaint because now I am the prime minister," observed Meloni.


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