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Matteo Salvini playing catch-up with Fratelli d'Italia's lead by denouncing the health pass. Facebook

Matteo Salvini opposes migration, health pass

Matteo Salvini, the leader of the League party in Italy, expressed his indignation at the arrival of more migrants in Italy and called on the government to react as quickly as possible to put an end to it. He also fumed against the health pass.

Published: August 6, 2021, 11:52 am

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    Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has been following in the footsteps of France’s Emmanuel Macron in terms of draconian health compliance measures.

    The League seems ready to withdraw its support from the government of national unity of Draghi, if we are to believe the latest statements by its leader Matteo Salvini, reported by La Repubblica on August 1. The one nicknamed Il Capitano in Italy has at least expressed his dissatisfaction with the latest surge of illegal migrants in the country.

    “I wrote to Draghi and told him that at the beginning of August the problem of the disembarking of migrants must be solved. If the minister is not in a position to face it, we will take note of it and draw the consequences,” declared the former Italian Minister of the Interior.

    “Supporting the government that would accept these many landings would be a problem for us in the League,” he continued. This ultimatum comes as the League is having its summer convention in Cervia (Emilia-Romagna). Matteo Salvini, however, has diluted his message by conceding that “the Draghi government is doing things in many other ways.”

    He has also linked the issue of migration with Covid-measures, saying that unvaccinated illegals keep flooding into the country. According to him, only 2 percent of all Africans have been vaccinated. Salvini is not against vaccination, it should be noted, but against a compulsory vaccination passport.

    The subject of immigration is thus not the only question on which Salvini has voiced concern. The health pass, called the “Green Pass” in Italy, was also addressed. “No Green Pass or limitation for snacks, lunches or dinners at the restaurant for customers, no Green Pass or limitation (at least for the month of August) on any means of transport, trains, buses, boats and planes, guarantee of ‘school attendance for all children, no exclusion,’ he tweeted, adding that the League would press for this during the Council of Ministers on this week.

    However, this is not Salvini’s first time opposing the Draghi government. He had already denounced the French health pass in July, saying that it was an “extremist” measure. For many, his position is seen as an ultimatum from the League to the government of national unity.

    “Frankly, I believe that we cannot turn bartenders and restaurateurs into carabinieri, making them responsible for the policing the ‘Green Pass’. For us, the self-certification [vaccination] method would be the best. On the front of the fight against the epidemic, it is necessary to give the maximum possible support to home care, with new antiviral and monoclonal drugs, very promising. Among other things, treating people at home is much cheaper than doing it in the hospital,” Salvini told Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

    Despite these declarations, the League maintains an ambiguous position vis-à-vis the health pass in Italy but also vis-à-vis the government. Massimiliano Fedriga, the president of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia (League) region, spoke publicly in favor of vaccination and the Green Pass according to La Repubblica while MP Claudio Borghi embarked on a real crusade against it, in particular by organizing a major demonstration in Piazza del Popolo in Rome on July 28.

    Likewise, Matteo Salvini is ambivalent about the League’s position vis-à-vis the government, regularly voicing criticisms while maintaining several ministers in government. Ultimately, this will risk benefiting the Fratelli d’Italia (FdI) party led by Giorgia Meloni.

    The latest poll conducted by YouTrend for AGI, revealed the primacy (acquired two weeks ago) of the Brothers of Italy as the top party in terms of the voting intentions of Italians. However, its advantage over the League is small – only one tenth of a percentage point.

    Both parties, in any case, appear to have settled just above the 20 percent threshold, with the Democratic Party in third position only one point behind (19,3 percent). The 5 Star Movement is at 16 percent.

    FdI has recently distinguished itself by occupying the Lower house of the Italian Parliament to protest against the introduction of the health pass.

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