Things are getting worse in Italy. After the Aquarius scandal, Matteo Salvini did not wait for another occasion to gain some international attention, by proposing a national census for the Roms in Italy, complaining, at the same occasion, about the legal impossibility to expel those who had the Italian nationality. Few months ago, when asked about his opinion on the matter, he talked about “epurating” neighbourhoods by kicking out the Roms who could live in it. Another scandal, and it will definitely not be the last, as the Italian minister for intern affairs seem to be totally out of control, and surely willing to implement the extrem-right policies he defended for years.

His behaviour quickly attracted critics, especially by the journalist and writer Roberto Saviano, author of the internationally acclaimed Gomorra, a courageous book tackling the issue of the Camorra mafia, which caused him to live under protection. Indeed, the publication did not please the mafia, who put a bounty on his head, forcing him to hide from the public. Irritated by Matteo Salvini fascistic behaviour, Saviano accused the leader of the North League of having some dangerous links with the mafia and criticized his immigration policy. “Salviani is known as the minister of mob”, he said, describing the extrem-right leader as a “clown” who does not frighten him.

In a shocking and unexpected declaration, the ministry of intern affairs chooses not only to deny the accusation, but threatened to take out Saviano’s protection, which indirectly means sentencing him to death, as the threats upon the author’s life are well-known and still active. He expressed his will to “evaluate if there was a real risk” for the author, claiming to be concerned about the use of public finances.

Even though he does not have a real power of direct intervention on the matter, Salvini’s declaration shows his willingness to act at any cost, including endangering the rule of law, if he sees a profit in it. There is much to be worried about when a minister publicly admits his will to put the life of one of its citizens on hold, simply out of anger and vexation. The Italy is going down a slippery slope, while the European Union did not take any measures against its behaviour, yet. We can only hope that it will eventually happen, before the Italy choose to follow Orban’s path.

 

Thomas Fraise