Pollster Alessandro Amadori used data from surveys by the Eumetra Institute and the Institute of International Affairs, to show that a massive 80 percent of Italians agree with Salvini’s policy.
“A large majority of citizens, about 80 percent, support the positions of the executive and in particular the Minister of the Interior,” polls revealed.
“The data is very clear: 30 percent of Italians have a very strong position and would like all immigrants to be rejected,” Amadori noted.
“Fifty percent, on the other hand, would like them to be accepted only partially and especially after a much more focused and careful assessment [of asylum claims] than the current one, with only 20 percent of Italians saying they want to welcome all migrants,” he added.
Other European governments and the mainstream media have sharply criticised Salvini with French President Emmanuel Macron calling the move to block the Aquarius vessel carrying migrants “sickening”.
The Aquarius is operated by French charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SOS Méditerranée and was banned from entering Italian ports.
Salvini responded to the French insult by saying, “If an official apology doesn’t arrive, Prime Minister Conte would be right not to go to France,” threatening to cancel a planned meeting between the two leaders.
Pope Francis stepped into the controversy yesterday by stating that “populist politicians” were “creating psychosis” on the issue of migration.
In an interview with Reuters published on Wednesday, he said that ageing societies like those in Europe face “a great demographic winter” and “will become empty” without migration.
“It’s not easy, but populism is not the solution,” Francis said, calling the policy “contrary to our Catholic values” and “immoral”.