Officials in Italy are fed up that they are receiving little to no help from their European neighbours despite thousands of migrants flooding its shores per month.
In a bid to deal with the crisis, Italy is threatening to hand out hundreds of thousands of temporary EU visas to asylum seekers which would allow the migrants to legally travel north using a Brussels directive.
The Italian Government believes that they can exploit European Council Directive 2001/55, which was put in place after the Balkans conflict to give temporary European entry permits to a large number of displaced people.
Mario Giro, Italy’s deputy foreign minister, and Luigi Manconi, a senator with the ruling Democratic Party, confirmed to The Times that the visa idea was being discussed.
But, if granted, the move would allow migrants to settle in European countries, like Britain, under the free movement of EU migrants.
The migrants would also be able to use the ‘Schengen scheme’ which would grant access to specific countries.
The Schengen Agreement relates to Europe’s Schengen Area, in which internal border checks have largely been abolished.
Five of the ten member states of the then European Economic Community signed the agreement on 14 June 1985.
They included: Belgium, France, West Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
Its aim was to abolish border checks at the signatories’ common borders.
Italy said its considering the move because it has repeatedly begged its European neighbours to help out with the migrant crisis to no avail.
Officials believe that their pleas are falling on deaf ears as no one has come to help them.
Italy is a prime location for migrants travelling by boat to dock on its shores.
Official figures show that at least 86,000 migrants have arrived in Italy this year alone.
Most of the asylum seekers are fleeing from north African countries and many opt to use smugglers who put them into small rickety boats.
So far, Italy has chosen to deal with the crisis by putting the refugees into detention centres.
But this measure is becomingly increasingly difficult to sustain, as they are overcrowded.
Yet, if they go ahead and hand out visas, there is likely to be a great deal of opposition from France and Austria, who could bare the brunt of the crisis.
Source : EXPRESS