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Matteo Salvini; Poverty in Caltagirone, Sicily (Wikipedia)

Amnesty denounces ‘Italy steeped in racism’ as anti-globalist parties rise

Amnesty International said on Wednesday that Italy was "steeped in racism" and blamed conservative parties, saying they were at fault for stoking anti-foreigner sentiment.

Published: February 24, 2018, 9:30 am

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    Amnesty said Italy was “steeped in hatred, racism and xenophobia, and unjustified fear of the other”.

    It said 95 percent of discriminatory, racist, and hate speech on the Internet came from the centre right. The anti-migrant League led by popular leader Matteo Salvini led the way at 50 percent of such speech, Amnesty said in its report.

    It was followed by the conservative Brothers of Italy (FdI) led by Giorgia Meloni at 27 percent, the Amnesty report said. In third place came Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia (FI) at 18 percent.

    The AI hysteria comes in the wake of EU president Jean-Claude Juncker admitting that next week’s Italian election could cause chaos for Brussels, adding that a “non-operational government” was now a real possibility.

    Election frontrunner Salvini has threatened to withdraw Italy’s funds from the EU unless Brussels agrees to reform core economic treaties.

    He said “regaining control of national borders” was a “top priority” for his party and added: “European authorities must stop the absurd ferry transport of migrants”.

    At the same time, Italian funding for research has fallen 1.2 billion euros or 20 percent over the last 10 years, according to a European Commission paper.

    The damning paper is due out next month. “We are on the brink of collapse,” Roma Tre University political economy lecturer Mario Pianta, who contributed to the report, told ANSA on Wednesday.

    Nature journal said on Wednesday the topic of research was “completely missing” from the electoral debate ahead of Italy’s March 4 general election.

    Italy currently beats Sweden in welfare spending with 57 percent of tax revenue spent on the welfare system, the Welfare Itineraries think tank also revealed on Wednesday.

    “Italy beats the home of welfare”, the study said. “The incidence of spending on healthcare, pensions and welfare rose to 57.32 percent in 2016,” it stated.

    The number of Italians living in absolute poverty reached its highest level for more than ten years in 2016, according to a report from the Italian National Institute of Statistics ISTAT released last year.

    According to the agency, the number of absolute poor in Italy rose to 4.7 million last year against almost 1.7 million in 2006. The figure represents 7.9 percent of the country’s population with most of them living in southern regions.

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