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Italy’s left pushes to speed up citizenship reform bill

The centre-left Democratic Party (PD) urged the upper house of parliament to get on with debating the draft law, which was given the green light by the lower house last year but has been sat on by the Senate since then.

“I believe that recognizing the rights of those born in Italy and schooled here to become citizens is a civic requirement that cannot be put off,” said Senate party leader Anna Finocchiaro.

At the moment, Italian-born children with foreign parents are not allowed to apply for citizenship until they are 18.

A year to the day after its adoption by the lower house, supporters of the bill organized a rally near the Senate, holding white sheets over their heads to resemble ghosts, to remind lawmakers of the difficulties faced by those raised in the country who feel Italian but are not.

PD senator Doris Lo Moro admitted process had been slowed by some 8,000 amendments tabled mainly by the anti-immigrant Northern League party.

Under the new bill, the children in question would be able to obtain citizenship if a parent requested it and had a residence permit.

The measure would also extend to children born abroad but resident in Italy for at least six years and schooled here for at least five.