Miscellaneous current issues in Italy

Immi­gra­tion: At the begin­ning of 2010, an impres­sive social upris­ing took place in south­ern Italy, involv­ing numer­ous African crop-pick­ers and the Ital­ian police. Clash­es last­ed sev­er­al days, and the news was report­ed on all nation­al media.11Cor­riere del­la Sera: Rosarno, altri quat­tro immi­grati fer­i­ti. Spari e scon­tri in stra­da: è battaglia, 8 Jan­u­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://www.corriere.it/cronache/10_gennaio_08/rosarno-scontri-maroni_cef157a6-fc32-11de-98e4-00144f02aabe.shtml (last access: 1 July 2010). This is just one episode which well describes the Ital­ian con­cern over ille­gal immi­gra­tion and its con­nec­tion with crime. Pub­lic opin­ion seems increas­ing­ly wor­ried about the lack of pub­lic order, some­times even in big cities, where closed racial neigh­bour­hoods have emerged in the last decade.

Cor­rup­tion: The past six months have seen a series of polit­i­cal scan­dals, con­nect­ed in var­i­ous ways to cor­rup­tion and the ille­gal use of pub­lic mon­ey.22Cor­riere del­la Sera: L’appartamento di Sca­jo­la e le falle nel­la tesi del min­istro, 3 May 2010, avail­able at: http://www.corriere.it/cronache/10_maggio_03/appartamento-scajola-sarzanini_6e658120-5685–11df-ae23-00144f02aabe.shtml (last access: 1 July 2010). Both sides of the Ital­ian polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment seem to be involved in the events, leav­ing a deep sense of dis­sat­is­fac­tion in the nation­al pub­lic opin­ion towards politi­cians in general.

Afghanistan: Fol­low­ing the arrest in Afghanistan of three Ital­ian aid work­ers of Emer­gency, a char­i­ty organ­i­sa­tion fund­ed by Gino Stra­da, accused of sup­port­ing a plot to assas­si­nate the Gov­er­nor of the Hel­mand province, a tense debate emerged in the Ital­ian press and polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment.33Natal­i­no Ronzit­ti: L’Italia in Afghanistan dopo il caso Emer­gency, Affar­In­ter­nazion­ali, 19 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.affarinternazionali.it/articolo.asp?ID=1438 (last access: 1 July 2010). The episode obtained large cov­er­age in TV shows and par­lia­men­tary audi­tions, even after the release of the three pris­on­ers.44Unità: Frat­ti­ni in Par­la­men­to ‘Uno dei tre volon­tari forse libero’, 14 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.unita.it/news/97381/frattini_in_parlamento_uno_dei_tre_volontari_forse_libero (last access: 1 July 2010).

Region­al Elec­tions: With thir­teen out of twen­ty regions involved in the vote, Italy reg­is­tered a low turnout (64 per­cent) in the region­al elec­tions held on 28 and 29 March 2010. Although at the cen­tre of a series of scan­dals and polit­i­cal con­tro­ver­sies, the cen­tre-right par­ty, head­ed by Prime Min­is­ter Sil­vio Berlus­coni, man­aged to snatch four regions away from the cen­tre-left and emerged as the main win­ner. The absten­tion rate was the high­est of the last 15 years.55La Repub­bli­ca: Elezioni Region­ali, 28–29 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.repubblica.it/static/speciale/2010/elezioni/regionali/index.html (last access: 1 July 2010).

Thai­land: In recent weeks, the unsta­ble polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Thai­land has received much atten­tion by the Ital­ian press. Although no spe­cif­ic polit­i­cal com­ments have been made on the top­ic, the pub­lic opin­ion fol­lows the evo­lu­tion of the clash­es between demon­stra­tors and the local gov­ern­ment with inter­est.66Cor­riere del­la Sera: Thai­lan­dia, 20 vit­time negli scon­tri, 11 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.corriere.it/esteri/10_aprile_11/thailandia-scontri-vittime-camicie-rosse_fdb7b568-4547–11df-93de-00144f02aabe.shtml (last access: 1 July 2010).

    Footnotes

  • 1Cor­riere del­la Sera: Rosarno, altri quat­tro immi­grati fer­i­ti. Spari e scon­tri in stra­da: è battaglia, 8 Jan­u­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://www.corriere.it/cronache/10_gennaio_08/rosarno-scontri-maroni_cef157a6-fc32-11de-98e4-00144f02aabe.shtml (last access: 1 July 2010).
  • 2Cor­riere del­la Sera: L’appartamento di Sca­jo­la e le falle nel­la tesi del min­istro, 3 May 2010, avail­able at: http://www.corriere.it/cronache/10_maggio_03/appartamento-scajola-sarzanini_6e658120-5685–11df-ae23-00144f02aabe.shtml (last access: 1 July 2010).
  • 3Natal­i­no Ronzit­ti: L’Italia in Afghanistan dopo il caso Emer­gency, Affar­In­ter­nazion­ali, 19 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.affarinternazionali.it/articolo.asp?ID=1438 (last access: 1 July 2010).
  • 4Unità: Frat­ti­ni in Par­la­men­to ‘Uno dei tre volon­tari forse libero’, 14 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.unita.it/news/97381/frattini_in_parlamento_uno_dei_tre_volontari_forse_libero (last access: 1 July 2010).
  • 5La Repub­bli­ca: Elezioni Region­ali, 28–29 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.repubblica.it/static/speciale/2010/elezioni/regionali/index.html (last access: 1 July 2010).
  • 6Cor­riere del­la Sera: Thai­lan­dia, 20 vit­time negli scon­tri, 11 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.corriere.it/esteri/10_aprile_11/thailandia-scontri-vittime-camicie-rosse_fdb7b568-4547–11df-93de-00144f02aabe.shtml (last access: 1 July 2010).

The reports focus on a report­ing peri­od from Decem­ber 2009 until May 2010. This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were deliv­ered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained therein.