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Main Diplomacy — Interview with the Italian Minister responsible for the hospitality of Ukrainians displaced in Italy

Diplomacy

Interview with the Italian Minister responsible for the hospitality of Ukrainians displaced in Italy

13 Mar, 2024
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Interview with the Italian Minister responsible for the hospitality of Ukrainians displaced in Italy

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How Ukrainian refugees are living in European countries, waiting for the moment to come back to their territories and communities is a very current topic. The Odessa Journal has had the chance to obtain an interview with the Italian Minister for civil protection and maritime policies, Nello Musumeci, who is in charge of the hospitality and assistance of immigrants in Italy.

1. Italy, like many other European countries, generously welcomed the Ukrainian families who came to the country seeking temporary protection, waiting to return to their homeland once the war was over. What did the Italian Government concretely offer to the displaced Ukrainians, such as permits, services, and assistance?

At first, Italy acknowledged the temporary protection for all citizens who arrived from Ukraine, significantly simplifying the granting of residence permits and access to assistance tools. Besides that, at my suggestion, the Council of Ministers extended the state of emergency correlated to the reception of Ukrainian citizens until 31 December 2024, and if needed, could be further extended. Pragmatically, the Ukrainians who fled the conflict have been offered three assistance tools: the so-called widespread reception, which ensures those arriving in Italy to be hosted by families or third-sector structures. For independently identifying accommodation, has been given a sustenance contribution of 300 euros per month for each Ukrainian citizen, plus 150 euros for each accompanying minor. As a third alternative, access to the ordinary reception network managed by the Italian Prefectures.

2. For many of these Ukrainian citizens, the temporary stay in Europe is an opportunity to learn a European language chance to create future collaborators useful for companies that will work in Ukraine after the war. What has Italy done for Ukrainians with residence permits regarding the possibility of learning Italian?

We had never imagined a kind of welcoming restricted only to the basic warranties such as food and accommodation we have also worked to ensure that each 180 thousand or more Ukrainian citizens who arrived in Italy could be equally able to create a network capable of supporting their integration. For every reception option, the presence of cultural mediators and the implementation of Italian classes are fully contemplated. Not only that, but We have also worked to guarantee support for the placement of minors to the school this is why more than 30 thousand Ukrainian children are attending our schools. We ensured the necessary psychological assistance and full access to the medical care offered by our National Health Service to everyone.

3. Ukrainians are very industrious people and wherever they go they look for work. For example, in Poland, Ukrainian refugees have founded more than 20,000 new companies since the invasion began. What opportunities have Ukrainians in Italy been given to contribute to the national economy?

The tool of the temporary protection, which is not by coincidence that the Meloni Government wanted to extend, allows Ukrainian citizens who arrived in Italy to enter immediately on our job market, both as employees and by starting their own independent businesses. In addition to the great industriousness of the Ukrainian people, we have noticed a high level of education among those who fled the war, a factor which has significantly expanded the range of possible activities. Not to mention the support guaranteed by the large Ukrainian community present permanently in Italy even before the start of the conflict.

4. What were the greatest difficulties or resistances you encountered in this emergency situation?

The greatest challenge was imagining a reception system without knowing the exact number of Ukrainians who would have arrived in Italy and for how long they would have stayed. To overcome this obstacle, we worked on a modular system, capable of expanding if the number of arrivals suddenly increased. It worked but, in addition to good planning, allow me to say that, once again, the Italian people showed their big heart and, especially in the early stages, the help that came from those many families who opened the doors of their homes to welcome those fleeing the war.

I would like to remember that, in addition to welcoming citizens fleeing the war, Italy has guaranteed, via our Civil Protection, the medical evacuation of over 150 people and has donated ambulances, fire engines, health kits, and equipment to Ukraine. electro-medical equipment, electrical equipment, tents, tensile structures, field kitchens, cots, and sleeping bags.

After all, Italy has supported Ukraine's fight for freedom from the beginning. And it is the battle of all Italians.

The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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