European Greens co-chair Monica Frassoni says she is extremely concerned by the racially motivated shootings on 3 February in Macerata, central Italy by Luca Traini, a failed election candidate for Italy’s far-right Northern League.
Frassoni says she is convinced the attack will be instrumentalised by Northern League leader Matteo Salvini, and other far-right politicians, and calls for urgent cross-party action to oppose the dominance of far-right discourse on the migration debate.
28-year-old Traini was arrested after six migrants were shot in the small city 200km east of Rome. He is reported to have also fired shots at the offices of the ruling center-left Democratic Party (PD) in Macerata, but did not injure anyone there. The shootings happened just days after a Nigerian migrant was arrested in connection with the death of an 18-year-old Italian woman, whose dismembered body was discovered stuffed into two suitcases near Macerata.
“Right wing parties are intentionally using migration as the main argument to win support in the Italian electoral campaign,” says Frassoni
An example of this, she says, were recent comments by Silvio Berluconi, a candidate in the upcoming elections, who promised to eject 600,000 illegal migrants if elected.
These far-right politicians, she says, have unfairly dominated TV and radio debates to the detriment of other more moderate voices, as has been demonstrated in a report by AGCOM, the Italian Communications Authority, to guarantee media pluralism online.
The result, she says, is that “prejudice and discrimination are fully disenfranchised and there is no longer any difference between those arriving by boat and migrants who established themselves many years ago.”
Quello di #Macerata è un atto razzista PUNTO, senza ma. È proprio da questi "pistoleri" (anzi, dai fascisti) e dai politici che li ispirano che ci dobbiamo difendere, non dalle loro vittime. #LucaTraini #laparolaconlaF pic.twitter.com/koU9BH5JMA— Monica Frassoni (@monicafrassoni) February 5, 2018
“We are facing a situation in which Salvini is actually taking advantage of the violent act of someone who was a candidate in his party,” said Frassoni.
“Even if crime rates, insecurity and migrant arrivals are all decreasing, many voters are convinced they are living in a sort of hell, where their culture and way of life are being threatened.”
Frassoni says we need to urgently overcome the apathy of mainstream parties and oppose what she calls a “destructive mood.”
“Not everybody thinks we need more walls. This isn’t populism - let’s not be afraid to call racism by its name.”
“The far-right discourse”, she continues, “is being normalised and accepted by both traditional political parties and the media. They need to be jolted out of these extreme views.”
She also calls for urgent measures to improve migration policies in Italy, which she says are woefully inadequate.
“There are thousands of people who are unclear about what they are supposed to do, who have been waiting for far too long for a decision on their fate.”
Frassoni is also critical of the the failed implementation of the EU’s re-location programmes, which she says, have resulted in a shift in Italy from being overtly pro-EU towards a more hostile position. She does, however, add that the sharing of responsibility among member states and the fair distribution of EU resources to help tackling this issue is the only way forward.
“The EU is not yet grasping the consequences of a radical shift to the right in Italy. Juncker and his fellow EPP are entertaining the false idea that a convicted former prime minister [Silvio Berlusconi], can save them from an extreme, euro-sceptic government winning the elections. They better think again.”