Rome, June 14 (IANS/AKI) Italian town and city councils are prepared to take in 6,000 more migrants and asylum-seekers under an agreement with the Interior Ministry, according to data from the national association of municipalities, ANCI, AKI learned on Wednesday.
More than 500,000 migrants have entered Italy since 2014, and some 175,000 asylum seekers are waiting in reception centres.
In February this year, the government unveiled plans to distribute migrants more evenly across the country and better integrate them, with a goal of 2.5 migrants to every 1,000 residents.
The government will provide a total of 100 million euros to municipalities that agree to increase their share of migrants under the plan, which calls for fresh efforts to curb the migrant influx via stronger border patrols and streamlined expulsion procedures for those whose asylum applications fail.
The government also plans to close Italy's biggest reception centres "because smaller numbers allow for a different relationship with locals," said Interior Minister Marco Minniti outlining the plans to lawmakers on February 9.
Italy currently has 14 migrant and asylum-seeker reception centres, the great majority of which are located in the south of the country.
Castelnuovo di Porto, 25 km northwest of Rome houses one of the reception centres but Rome's Mayor Viriginia Raggi on Tuesday asked the government for a "moratorium" on migrant arrivals in the capital, citing "the high migrant pressure Rome is subjected to".
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