When he became the mayor of the tiny hilltop town Riace, in Calabria, southern Italy, Domenico “Mimmo” Lucano had to save his community from depopulation. Lucano managed to revitalise his town by welcoming and integrating new residents. In 2021, he was sentenced to 13 years and 2 months in prison for abetting illegal migration.

His appeal trial started on 25 May. To show their human and political support, Members of the European Parliament are in Riace this week to speak out in an event organised by Mimmo Lucano on 3-4 June. The mission is co-organised by MEPs Cornelia Ernst (The Left), Rosa d’Amato and Damien Carême (Greens/EFA).

The main square of the Calabrian town lists the 20 countries people have come from: Eritrea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, to name only a few. For more than a decade, when he was mayor, Mimmo offered new people homes and jobs. He settled more than 500 refugees in Riace, now a town of 1,800 inhabitants and prevented the closure of the local school. At the end of the 90’s, it had no more than 900 inhabitants. The “Riace model” drew praise worldwide. Fortune magazine named him one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders, in 2016, and the German city of Dresden, awarded him its international peace prize in 2017.

“We are travelling to Riace to express our full solidarity and political support to Mimmo Lucano. I am strongly concerned that the criminalisation of people on the move and those supporting them, including local authorities and citizens, is spreading and intensifying all over Europe: in Italy, Greece, Croatia, Poland and other member states. The case of Mimmo, whose engagement is recognised globally, is outrageous because solidarity with people on the move is never a crime, neither is fleeing your country,” says Left MEP Cornelia Ernst.

The Left will continue to support such examples of humanity and hope against xenophobia, racism and fear. We stand with those who save lives and we fully support Mimmo’s battle for justice to prove his innocence. We will continue to fight for building communities instead of walls and for an EU humane migration policy.



Against the Criminalisation of Solidarity – AGENDA

Friday June 3
10:00 am Press conference

Presentation of the initiative of the European Parliamentarians in support of solidarity with migrants and refugees followed by interviews with MEPs

11:00 am – 1:00 pm Workshop “Solidarity does not stop – restart from Riace” Part I

The criminalisation of solidarity

Chair: Corrado Mandreoli (ResQ – People Saving People, Vice-president)

11:00 Welcome by Domenico Lucano, former Mayor of Riace

11:15 Discussion of the problem of criminalisation of solidarity: experiences and case studies with MEPs and civil society (a representative of SOS Méditerranée, Laura Renzi from Amnesty International Italia and Lorena Fornasir, migrants rights defender)

Q&A with the public

1:30 pm Lunch
3:30 pm – 5:30 pm Workshop “Solidarity does not stop – restart from Riace” Part II

The case of Riace and its perspectives

Chair: Maurizio Del Bufalo (Naples Human Rights Film Festival)

3:30 Domenico Lucano presents the “Riace Model” – The history of the project (1998-2018) and its crisis

4:15 Speech by lawyer Andrea Daqua on the juridical aspects of the first degree sentence about Domenico Lucano

4:30 Testimonies from exponents of the world of culture and politics (Prof. Domenico Cersosimo UNICAL, Prof. Vito Teti UNICAL, On. Mario Oliverio, ex presidente Regione Calabria, Dott. Isidoro Napoli JIMUEL onlus, Dott. Giuseppe Panarello Univ.,Bocconi Milano)

5:20 – Salvatore Albanese  (Comitato 11 giugno) illustrates the network of initiatives to support Riace project and Domenico Lucano

5:30 Closing of the workshop


6:00 pm Guided tour of the laboratories and facilities of the Global Village
7:00 pm Film screening

Screening of “El cielo sobre Riace” by Damian Olivito (ARG, 2020, 80 minutes) with English subtitles

Saturday June 4
10:00 am Civil society meeting

Meeting with MEPs, NGOs, associations and humanitarian ships delegations to examine case studies




Equality & Rights & liberties & Rights and liberties & Social Justice ·

From the streets to the institutions - the unwavering battle for LGBTIQ+ justice

Rights & liberties ·

Antifaschismus muss Grundkonsens sein

Rights & liberties ·

Unmasking the EU's role in exacerbating the housing crisis