The year before, 181,000 made it to Italy. Migration has become a key issue in Italy’s election campaign, with voters due to go to the polls on March 4.
Major parties, including Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and the Right-wing League, formerly the Northern League, have said Italy can no longer accept such high numbers and have called for hundreds of thousands of migrants already in the country to be repatriated.
“In the last few years, Italy repatriated 15,000 migrants. It would be my aim to triple that number,” said Matteo Salvini, the head of the League.
If countries in Africa and elsewhere refused to take back migrants, then excise duties would be imposed on their exports to Italy, Mr Salvini said.