MPs begin discussions on citizenship reforms

Integration Minister Kyenge says talks are a 'starting point'

MPs begin discussions on citizenship reforms

Rome, June 4 - Italian MPs met on Tuesday to discuss a proposal for reforms to the country's citizenship law for Italian-born children of migrants, Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge said. The meeting "among a bipartisan group of parliamentarians and members of all parties" is just a "starting point", Kyenge said. Kyenge's calls for reform of Italy's citizenship laws have won support from many quarters. However, Italy's Interior Minister and Deputy Premier Angelino Alfano, the secretary of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, has said the issue was not a priority for the government. "That reforms are needed, no problem. But it shouldn't mean that anyone can become Italian just by passing through the delivery room," Alfano said in a radio interview last week. Comedian-turned-political Beppe Grillo, whose anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) won around a quarter of the vote in February's general elections, has said any changes to the citizenship law should be put to a referendum. "We must start from birth right to citizenship and then adapt the proposal to fit the country. Children of immigrants do not have a choice where they are born, but are part of this country that is for all," Kyenge said. AC Milan striker and a member of the Italian national team Mario Balotelli recently said he supported proposed reforms. Balotelli was born in Sicily to parents from Ghana and only obtained his Italian citizenship when he turned 18, the legal age in Italy for people born elsewhere.

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