SILVIO Berlusconi has warned immigration in Italy is a “social bomb ready to explode” and promised to deport 600,000 illegal migrants from the country if his centre-right coalition wins power in next month’s elections.
The pledge from the former prime minister, and leader of the Forza Italia party, comes just one day after six Africans were shot by a far-right extremist in the central Italian city of Macerata.
Speaking in a TV interview, Mr Berlusconi also hit out at the European Union for failing to agree on a bloc-wide immigration policy which would share the burden of Italy’s migrant arrivals.
The Mediterranean nation is a favoured landing point for migrant boats making the treacherous journey from northern Africa.
He said: “Today, Italy counts for nothing in Brussels and the world. We will make it count again.
“Immigration has become an urgent question, because after years with a left wing government, there are 600,000 migrants who don’t have the right to stay.
“We consider it to be an absolute priority to regain control over the situation.”
The 81-year-old added he would make security a priority and order an increased police presence if his coalition gains enough of a majority to govern.