New Italian minister of interior closes Italian ports to NGO rescue boats

Italian Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini has declared that Italy will deny permission to another migrant-rescue ship to dock at an Italian port following refusal to another ship carrying 629 migrants on June 10. Salvini, who is also deputy premier and leader of the League party, said via Twitter: "Italy has stopped bowing its head and obeying, this time THERE IS SOMEONE WHO SAYS NO." 

The development came a day after the new Spanish government headed by Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez offered to allow the ship to dock in Valencia. The refusal to accept it in Italy was the first major anti-migrant move since far-right Salvini took office this month.

News report - The Guardian 

EU Italy

New Italian government wins first confidence vote

Italy’s new government has won a confidence vote from the Senate, with the lower chamber set to vote on June 6. The decision in the upper house came after newly installed Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte outlined the populist coalition’s agenda of higher welfare spending and tougher immigration rules. After months of political turmoil, Italy has its first "government of change" based on an untested and unusual alliance: a government contract drawn up between two populist parties - the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, led by Luigi di Maio, and the anti-migrant, Eurosceptic League, led by Matteo Salvini.

Enzo Moavero Milanesi is the new Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. He has been chosen to reassure EU partners and show continuity in relations with Europe and its institutions. Politically independent, Milanesi previously served as Minister of European Affairs in the Monti and Letta cabinets and as Deputy Secretary-General of the European Commission.

News article - Politico

EU Italy

Italian president asks former IMF director to form interim government as Italy's political turmoil continues

Italian President Sergio Mattarella has given Carlo Cottarelli, economist and former International Monetary Fund (IMF) director, a mandate to form an interim technocrat government. The move comes after Italy's two largest political parties, the populist and anti-establishment parties the League (Lega) and the Five Star Movement (M5S), abandoned their plans to form a coalition in the face of a veto from the head of state over their choice of economy minister. In a televised address, Mattarella said he had rejected the candidate, Eurosceptic economist Paolo Savona, because he had threatened to pull Italy out of the eurozone. 

Cottarelli said that he will present a program to the Parliament that includes the approval of the budget law and the subsequent dissolution of parliament, with new elections held 2019. He added that, if his government does not win Parliament's confidence, elections will be held after August this year.

News article - BBC

EU Italy

DG DEVCO accredits Italian Development Cooperation for indirect management of European programs

The Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) has announced the successful conclusion of the accreditation procedure of the Italian Development Cooperation Agency (AICS) for the indirect management of EU programs.

As a result of the accreditation, the Commission will be able to entrust programs funded by the EU to AICS for indirect management, allowing the agency to act as a 'delegated cooperation' actor. 

Press release -AICS (in Italian) 

Terms of Reference for Pillar Assessments – EU Commission

EU Italy

Italy's president grants Five Stars Movement and League more time to come to government agreement

Following  a call made by Italian President, Sergio Materalla, for a "netural government" to lead the country until the end of the year after two months of deadlocked political negotiations, Italy's two largest political parties, populist and anti-establishment parties League (Lega), and the Five Star Movement (M5S), have been granted more time to come to an agreement to form a joint government.

The League later announced that it would hold an informal referendum for its members to approve a coalition agreement, on May 19-20. Key points of the deal would include scrapping an unpopular pension reform, tougher rules on immigration, tax cuts, and renegotiation of EU treaties, the League said in a statement. The M5S has already said it would put any accord to an online vote for its own members.

If the deal between M5S and the League fails, President Mattarella could try to put together a government of technocrats with a limited mandate, to prepare for early elections in the spring of 2019. Failing that, his last option would be to call elections in the autumn of this year.

News article - New York Times 

News article - Repubblica (in Italian)


Italian President Sergio Mattarella calls for “neutral government” to end political deadlock

Italian President Sergio Mattarella has urged the formation of a “neutral” government to lead the country until the end of the year after declaring there was no hope for a government emerging from a workable political alliance two months after national elections. Mattarella urged Italy’s deadlocked political leaders to back the “government of service” until at least the 2019 budget was passed, by December 31. He said that calling elections any time before 2019 would expose Italy to undue risks, adding that Italy needs a functioning government immediately because of pressing decisions coming up in June regarding the EU budget and immigration matters. 

Italy’s two largest parties – the far-right League (Lega) and the Five Star Movement (M5S) – immediately opposed his proposal, raising the prospect of another election as early as July. Forza Italia, the party leading the formation of a center-right wing coalition with Lega, backed the idea of going back to the ballot but argued it would be a better idea to wait until the autumn. The Democratic Party (PD) has been the only major elected force to support Mattarella's neutral government. 

Mattarella is expected to announce whom he would like to lead the non-partisan administration some time before Friday, May 11. The new Prime Minister could be the first woman to hold this role in Italy: five women are among the names floated to lead a transitional government. Nevertheless, a negative vote by both parties Lega and M5S would mean that the president-sponsored government very likely will fail to secure the required confidence vote.

News article - Washington Post

News article - Corriere della Sera


Italy’s ODA rose from 0.27% of GNI to 0.29% in 2017

According to preliminary OECD data, Italian ODA rose from 0.27% to 0.29% of GNI, reaching the target set by Matteo Renzi in 2015, when as prime minister committed himself to a progressive increase in resources. In absolute volume, Italian ODA increased 10% to US$5.7 billion, largely attributable to an increase in bilateral grants for developing countries and the costs of hosting refugees within Italy.

Detailed summary - OECD


Italian Agency of Cooperation's General Director resigns

The former director of the Italian Agency of Cooperation (AICS) has announced her resignation, effective March 5, 2018. Frigenti leaves the position after having been the director since the organization's inception. At this stage there is no substitute for her position. Leonardo Carmenati, who has previously worked for both the Italian and international Red Cross for a number of years in technical and leadership positions, has been nominated vice-president of the Agency.

News article - Onu Italia (in Italian) 


Doctors Without Borders Italy publishes two new reports on conditions of migrants and refugees in Italy

Doctors Without borders Italy has published the report “Fuori Campo-Out of sight”, about the living conditions of migrants and refugees in Italy.

The first edition was published two years ago. The document is based on Doctors Without Borders (MSF) monitoring of several informal settlements, such as slums, squats and occupied buildings in Italy during 2016 and 2017. MSF attests to approximately 10,000 migrants and refugees living in inhumane conditions, due to inadequate welcoming policies. The report finds that refugees and migrants are living in informal settlement and have limited access to basic services. MSF has asked all the Italian local and national authorities to ensure that all migrants and refugees have access to the medical care, shelter, food, and clean water for the entire period they stay in Italy, regardless their legal status.

MSF Italy also carried out a second study titled “Harmful borders” on the situation in Ventimiglia, an Italian town on the border of France. Of the 287 migrants interviewed by MSF, almost one in four said they experienced episodes of violence at the border.

Report – Doctors Without Borders (in Italian) 

Report – Doctors Without Borders

Italy Global health

Italy to chair Organisation for Security and Co-operation in 2018

Italy is the 2018 chair of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The role involves coordinating decision-making among members and setting priorities for the OSCE’s activities in the field of security and cooperation in Europe. The Italian Chairmanship aims at promoting a stronger focus within the OSCE on challenges and opportunities coming from the Mediterranean region. The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, has indicated Italy's intention of addressing migration, with the goal of fighting intolerance and promoting inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue, which he considers are the foundations of peace and security.