A Faustian Bargain: Italian Immigration Policy During Berlusconi's Second Term

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
2.13 (Binnengasthuis)
Joao Miguel Carvalho , Politics, University of Aveiro
Immigration policy was the top concern of Italian voters at the 2001 general election whilst the association of irregular inflows with law and order issues was paramount across the centre-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi. After the victory at the ballot, a governmental centre-right coalition was formed including the Casa della Libertá (aggregating the Forza Italia and the Alleanza Nationale), the Biancofiore parties (Christian-democrat parties) and the extreme right party – the Lega Nord. This paper explores the influence of the governmental parties on the development of immigration policy throughout Berlusconi’s second term (2001-2006). In parallel, this paper will examine the LN´s impact on the policy of border controls and the role of mainstream parties in this political process.

This paper will highlight the strong connection between the development of Italian immigration and the intra-coalition dynamics. Berlusconi’s second term was marked by the enactment of the Bossi-Fini 2002 law with an overt restrictive character and an initial restrictive approach to the management of the labour quotas under the guidance of the LN’s minister Roberto Maroni. The primacy initially devoted to political priorities over economic concerns was diluted by the mid-term after the dissolution of the northern axis within the executive and decline of the FI and the LN’s hegemony.The LN enjoyed a moderate but disproportional impact on policy developments. Mainstream parties, in particular Berlusconi, were considered responsible for the moderation as well as the enhancement of the extreme right party’s impact.