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Italian region Molise offers 700 euros monthly for newcomers

Anyone who takes up the offer will receive 700 euros a month (about US$770) for up to three years to help them settle in an area known for its green pastures, olive groves and snowy mountaintops.

There's a catch -- they'll also have to commit to starting a small business, in order to contribute to the local economy.

"I want my region to undergo a renaissance and avoid its authentic villages turning into ghost towns," Antonio Tedeschi, a regional councilor who came up with the idea, tells CNN. "We need to safeguard our roots."

Young people and couples with children are particularly encouraged to apply to the scheme, which is to be officially launched on September 16.

Tedeschi, who was born in the small Molise village of Filignano -- home to barely 700 residents -- says he knows what it means to see old traditions and historical places fall into oblivion and wants to stop the decline in its tracks.

Depopulation crisis

"The goal is to breathe new life and revamp the local economy," he says. "Newcomers are free to kick-start anything they please in order to get our financial support: a small inn, restaurant, bar, B&B, a tiny rural farm, artisan boutique, library or shop selling local gourmet excellences."

Thousands of people have left Molise in recent years. Official statistics say the number of people living there has fallen by almost 9,000 since 2014, pushing the region's population to just 305,000.

Now one of Italy's most depopulated regions, 106 of its 136 towns have fewer than 2,000 residents.

Many communities across Italy are at risk of being lost as younger people migrate to bigger towns and cities -- or abroad -- in search of work as Italy's fragile economy struggles to support its more remote, rural areas.

Recently, there's been a spate of villages from the northern Alps to the southern vineyards of Sicily, virtually giving away homes to anyone willing to spend the money on renovating them to move in.

Molise's offer has the potential to be the most lucrative yet for anyone willing to take the plunge.

So what exactly can applicants expect if they take the plunge? Here's a look at some of the most picturesque villages among those inviting people to move in.

Fornelli

Fornelli is known as the City of Oil because of the olive groves dotting a landscape that also harbors premium truffles and species of endangered legumes.

Nominated for the 2019's Italy's Most Beautiful Town contest, it has a medieval center that was once protected by a drawbridge and is now a web of narrow alleys and arched entrances.

Seven towers are incorporated in the town's defensive walls, within which cars and even motorcycles are banned, making it peaceful and unpolluted.

Pesche

Clinging to the rocky cliff side of Mount San Marco, this village takes its name from the Italian word pietre, meaning "rocks."

The white-yellowish stone dwellings at the feet of a majestic castle contrast with the green-brownish stones covered in lush vegetation that cover the landscape.

Isolation has preserved the village from centuries of Barbarian raids and the doorways of homes and aristocratic buildings are adorned with weird stone images.

Riccia

One of the high spots of the year in Riccia is a picturesque grape festival that celebrates the end of the vendemmia or harvest and attracts wine lovers from across Italy.

The event sees floats decorated with grapes parade through the cobbled streets as actors hand out gourmet treats.

Riccia, clustered at the feet of a cylindrical tower, is part of an élite club uniting Italy's "authentic villages" where traditions and ancient recipes survive.

Molise's premium amaro liqueur is made with special herbs found in the nearby woods.

Capracotta and Campitello Matese

These villages are for ski lovers.

One of the attractions of Molise, Italy's second smallest region, is that it has everything in one place: sea, lakes, forests and even the Apennine mountain range.

Capracotta and Campitello Matese are the region's top winter sports resorts, pulling in snowboarders and cross-country amateurs.

Skiing pistes aren't as long nor as steep as those found in the Alps, but there's the added attraction of thick woodlands where wild animals still live, including bears.

Pietrabbondante and Sepino

It's hard to believe, but Molise rivals Rome or Pompeii for ancient architecture and archeological attractions.

The two small villages of Pietrabbondante and Sepino both contain the secret, largely unknown ruins of once-glorious citadels.

A large chunk of Molise used to lie within the kingdom of the fiery Samnite tribes who refused to bend the knee to Ancient Rome but were eventually slaughtered.

Pietrabbondante's archeological area, close to the town and set at an altitude of 1,000 meters, has a spellbinding view over Molise's rugged hills and features a sanctuary and several temples.

Saepinum, or Sepino's ruins, is incredibly well preserved with statues of imprisoned barbarians greeting visitors at the entrance.

San Giovanni in Galdo

Grazing sheep, cows and buffalo dot the bucolic landscape here.

It's still possible to spot forgotten dusty trails winding up the mountains and the ruins of a majestic Italic temple built in the third century BCE.

San Giovanni in Galdo is located near one of Molise's main routes used by shepherds to move their livestock between low and high pastures.

The old town, dubbed Morrutto or "broken walls" in local dialect, is a maze of caves and underground chambers.

Old festivals survive such as the performances of the Zig-zaghini folklore group, which enacts something known as the "anti-jinx dance."

Castel San Vincenzo

The clear waters of its blue lake makes Castel San Vincenzo one of Molise's most visited towns by day-trippers.

Set in the Alta Valle del Volturno, it's known as the Valley of Faith, because monks and pilgrims have, for centuries, come here for meditation and prayer.

Today the nearby stunning abbey of San Vincenzo Al Volturno lures soul-searching travelers craving an unplugged stay and artists in need of inspiration.

Duronia

The village, dating back to pre-Roman times, is a collection of pastel-coloured peasant houses connected by staircases and nestled at the feet of an overhanging fortress.

The town's symbol is a huge stone cross. Its belvedere piazza offers a unique panorama of surrounding meadows dotted with the ruins of Samnite towers.

Duronia is popular for guided trekking tours along rural routes

First signs of immigration policy changes

The expert and long-standing ministry official Luciana Lamorgese could be read as a sign that Italian migration policy is about to change. Could her appointment be a break from the policies pushed hard by outgoing minister Matteo Salvini?

In the last administration, the Italian interior ministry and its minister Matteo Salvini were rarely out of the headlines. Salvini, a frequent user of social media pushed his politics hard, introducing a decree regarding migration and security. It seems, in deciding to appoint a non-politician to the post of interior minister the focus of the new Italian government could be about depoliticizing this post. 

The Italian president, Sergio Mattarella has reportedly backed ''cooling things off'' and wanted to avoid giving such a delicate position to a politician who would likely have been targeted daily by their predecessor. The new interior minister will thus be an "expert,"or bureaucrat. Luciana Lamorgese previously served as prefect (a type of governor) in Milan and Venice. She has had a long career in government administration, in particular within the structures of the interior ministry itself.

'New law on immigration needed'

The issue of migrants will be the first item on her agenda. It is an issue on which she has focused several times in different roles. The newcomers in this government, the Democratic Party (PD) had pushed for a break with the past and it seems they have got it. In the program, noted the PD whip in the Chamber of Deputies Graziano Delrio, "it was written that a new law on immigration is needed that goes beyond the logic of 'emergency'".

The idea of breaking with the past extends beyond just policy. Lamorgese is a very different character to Salvini. She does not have a social media profile for instance and so it is difficult to imagine her standing on the roof of the interior ministry conducting a Facebook Live with her followers or the nation. It remains to be seen whether new laws will be enacted. For now though, Salvini's migration and security decree remains in force. Meanwhile, the situation on the ground needs to be dealt with. Daily reports bring news of more migrant boat landings.

The question is: what will happen to the next humanitarian ship that tries to enter Italian waters with a group of rescued migrants? It is possible that the new minister will not sign a ban - as the League leader did every time on the basis of Article 1 of his decree, which gave him the possibility of "limiting or prohibiting entrance" to ships "for reasons of public order or security."

Will the policy change?

Lamorgese has, in the past, criticised anti-migrant policies. Many analysts are expecting her to modify Italy's migration policy "in line with the recent observations made by the president." 

On August 8, President Sergio Mattarella sent an open letter in relation to the security decree. In it, the head of state raised "significant questions," regarding the sanctions against ships that were found to have violated the entrance ban to Italian territorial waters. Under the previous government, humanitarian ships could face fines of up to one million euros and several ships were impounded by the authorities which prevented them from carrying out further rescues for sometimes weeks or months at a time. 

There will be a lot of negotiation ahead to find agreement between the two parties of Italy's new coalition. If however they do find agreement regarding migration policy, there is potential for the immigration law to be rewritten. Lamorgese has already worked extensively with migration issues in her roles as prefect as well as within the interior ministry. She also studied law. 

When Lamorgese was prefect of Milan she lashed out at anti-migrant regulations brought in by League mayors in the region saying "it is important to accept diversity, which brings richness [...]to the region [...] and move forward with integration." It is expected she will put more resources into strengthening integration projects too.

The new minister will also focus on restoring good relations with the EU and other European capitals, from Paris to Berlin; out of conviction that alliances are needed to change things. It is expected that she will try and get EU leaders to look again at the Dublin Treaty which requires the country where migrants first arrive to take responsibility

Salvini's breakdown

By Gavin Jones and Giselda Vagnoni

At a closed-door meeting on Aug. 6, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s advisers told the populist politician that he was trapped in an unproductive coalition government and should bring it down.

The next day, Salvini told Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte that he was pulling his League Party out of its ruling alliance with the Five Star Movement (M5S), hoping to trigger an election that would return him to power as the unquestioned leader of a new government.

The League’s euroskeptic leader, riding high in the opinion polls thanks to his hard line on immigration, had just made a major miscalculation.

According to five sources, including League economic chief Claudio Borghi, Salvini’s plan rested on the two beliefs that Conte would promptly resign, and that the M5S and the opposition Democratic Party would be unable to bury their deep-rooted mutual enmity to join forces against him.

Salvini was wrong on both counts.

Italy’s once-dominant politician, known as “The Captain” by his followers, is on the verge of opposition wilderness, a mere spectator as the M5S and the center-left Democratic Party form a government without him.

A master at galvanizing the masses with his fiery rhetoric and social media savvy, Salvini’s dramatic reversal of fortune shows that he lacked a similar mastery of the political cut-and-thrust in the corridors of power in Rome.

Despite this summer’s chastening experience, Salvini is still a potent political force and could be back — especially if a new M5S/ Democratic Party government proves short-lived.

Borghi said that Salvini resisted internal party pressure to trigger elections, including from Borghi himself, but eventually relented at the meeting last month.

“Lots of us were telling him he had to bring down the government, even though we know there were risks,” said Borghi, who attended the Aug. 6 gathering.

BAD ADVICE

Salvini’s plot to ditch the M5S and win power alone after months of bickering over economic policies and relations with the EU, started to go wrong from the start when Conte declined to relinquish power.

That was not what Salvini had expected.

A senior League source said that Salvini’s low-profile No. 2, Giancarlo Giorgetti, a kingmaker who does much of the party’s back-room power broking, had assured him that Conte would go.

Instead, Conte, a law professor plucked from obscurity to lead the coalition government, showed that he had no intention of returning to academia. Rather than resign, he demanded to know why Salvini wanted to bring down the government and called for a transparent parliamentary debate.

With the Italian parliament on their summer recess, lawmakers first had to be summoned from their holidays — giving them time to come up with a plan to thwart Salvini’s ambitions.

“To bring down the government, he should have withdrawn the League’s ministers from the Cabinet rather than just asking Conte to resign,” said former Italian minister of the interior Roberto Maroni, who preceded Salvini as League leader. “He gave his adversaries time to negotiate and create a new government.”

With Conte sitting tight, the League filed a no-confidence motion in its own government, hoping to topple it as soon as parliament reconvened on Aug. 12.

However, the M5S and many Democratic Party lawmakers were furious about Salvini’s maneuvering and returned determined to check his sprint toward a snap election.

Erdogan chiede aiuto finanziario da EU

Migranti, Erdogan a Ue: Condividete il peso o riapriremo le porte

 

Il presidente turco Recep Tayyip Erdogan è tornato a minacciare la riapertura della rotta verso l'Europa dei migranti siriani, ribadendo che la Turchia non è in grado di gestire un altro potenziale afflusso di persone da sola. Esiste una nuova "minaccia migratoria" dalla zona siriana di Idlib lungo il confine turco, ha dichiarato Erdogan chiedendo all'Unione Europea un sostegno finanziario sufficiente. "O condividete il peso o dovremo aprire le porte", ha affermato, facendo infine notare che l'Ue deve ancora mantenere pienamente le sue promesse in materia di aiuti

CDM impugna la legge di Friuli Venezia Giulia

La legge è stata impugnata, si osserva in una nota diffusa al termine del Cdm, "in quanto numerose disposizioni sono risultate eccedere dalle competenze statutarie della Regione. In particolare: alcune norme violano la competenza esclusiva statale in materia di tutela dell’ambiente, di cui all’articolo 117, secondo comma, lettera s), della Costituzione; talune disposizioni in materia di immigrazione appaiono discriminatorie, in contrasto con i principi di cui all’articolo 3 della Costituzione e in violazione della competenza esclusiva statale nella materia di cui all’articolo 117, secondo comma lettera b) della Costituzione.