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Italy: EU migration policies are not only hurting migrants, they hurt all Europeans

Today, as the election results in Italy are being released, we see that anti-European are still on the rise. Italy is suffering an economic crisis, where unemployment numbers have gone up dramatically, especially amongst youth. Like in many other countries in the EU, Euroscepticism, towards the Eurozone and the migration policies are used as a political tool to gain popularity. And successfully so: Together, eurosceptic parties have won around 50% of the votes.

The way the European Union has dealt with the migration crisis has been truly appalling. Unclear and dysfunctional resettlement schemes, deals with dictators, putting the life of refugees at risk and not supporting the EU countries where most refugees arrive, has created a huge dissatisfaction with Brussels across Europe. During the European elections, far-right parties in Italy have build up on this anti-immigration sentiment, which resulted in the far-right Lega becoming the strongest right-wing party. In the streets, the strength of this party and the scapegoating of migrants has lead to an alarming rate of racism climaxing in the horrific hunting down and shooting of black people in the streets of Macerata. 

Not only in Italy, but everywhere in Europe racism and violence against (1st and 2nd generation) migrants is rising. And as long as the far-right demagogues can show how bad it is and how the EU has no proper answer, it doesn’t seem likely this trend will change. 

However, the Five Stars Movement, the party that won most votes, is just as eurosceptic. Leaning less on racist anti-migration rhetorics, but rather pointing out the dysfunctional relocation system in place. Southern countries, such as Italy and Greece, had to deal with great numbers of refugees and migrants, with little to no support from other members states. 

If the EU and in particular national governments in the Council do not realise that by their terrible way of dealing with the migration crisis, the rise of racism, euro-skepticism and deaths in the Mediterranean will only increase, the future of our continent seems bleak. It’s not only the far-right who undermines the European project, but also their actions and inability to deal with our most pressing problems. 

We stand for an open, tolerant and diverse Europe. Where every person's rights and dignity are respected, whether born here or not. We hope the elections in Italy will be another wake-up call for the European Commission, that European solidarity is highly needed and demanded by the people, but this time one that is being heard.