Thursday March 9, at the end of a council of ministers relocated to the south of Italy, the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, had reaffirmed the determination of her government to fight against illegal immigration and smugglers. Since taking office in October 2022, the Italian head of government has multiplied the obstacles to the operations of humanitarian ships in the Mediterranean and started a standoff with her European partners to obtain from them more solidarity in the reception of migrants.
On this occasion, the Council of Ministers approved a decree reinforcing the penalties for smugglers and creating a new crime punishable by thirty years in prison for these traffickers whose operations have led to the death or injury of their victims. According to the Ministry of the Interior, 17,592 people have landed since January 1 in Italy, compared to 5,976 over the same period in 2022 and 5,995 in 2021, almost triple. The number of migrant arrivals via the central Mediterranean route jumped 116% in January and February compared to 2022, according to Frontex, the European border guard agency,