The Italian Government has approved a more restrictive decree for young, unaccompanied migrants.
It allows for the deportation of young foreigners if they have lied about their real age.
The move is intended to combat what the Council considers an abuse of rights.
Under the plan, young unaccompanied foreigners in Italy who cannot prove their real age will undergo medical and anthropological tests. If these do not confirm they are under 18 years old, they will be deported, as will people who are deemed dangerous by authorities.
Due to the huge influx of arrivals to Italy, shelters for minors are said to be at full capacity, forcing youths aged 16 to 18 to be placed in adult facilities for a maximum of three months, something that was condemned by the European Court of Human Rights.
The Italian Government insisted that “protection and differential treatment for the self-proclaimed minors is not lacking”. Anthropometric checks are planned to determine the age of the younger migrants.
There are reported to be about 21,000 unaccompanied adolescents in Italy, with boys constituting 85 per cent of the total. The numbers are on the rise as more migrants arrive.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s political allies are happy with the new decree, which they see as fixing what were persistent problems.
Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said: “Less crime, less violence, more controls and security – let’s keep going.”
Italian defence minister Guido Crosetto said: “This decision demonstrates the commitment to provide concrete responses to the country’s needs.”
The political opposition rejected the decree as did the Italian Episcopal Conference of Italian Catholic bishops.
The organisation’s Secretary General Monsignor Giuseppe Baturi said: “We express all our concern about solving the migrant problem only in terms of rejection, containment and public order.” He emphasised that minors “need greater protection, as do women”.
The government said the new decree strengthens protections for all women. Previously, only pregnant women and mothers accompanying minors were immediately included in the priority reception system. For all others, the legislation provided exactly the same treatment as for adult males. Now, every migrant woman will have the same, priority protection.
EU states have struggled to find a common position on migration.