The Minister of Defence’s Statement on Migratory Flows and Asylum Seekers

CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVII LEGISLATURE, 213th MEETING, 16 APRIL 2014.

On 16 April 2014, the Minister of Defence, Mr. Angelino Alfano, made a statement before the Chamber of Deputies in which he addressed the issue of migratory flows and asylum applications. The Minister urged the EU to give a joint response to the phenomenon of migration, in particular by reforming Council Regulation (EC) No. 343/2003 of 18 February 2003, also known as Dublin II Regulation, and allowing asylum seekers to move within the whole Europe. Mr. Alfano had previously intervened before the Chamber on the same issues.

Yesterday, before the Schengen Committee [an internal parliamentary committee of the Chamber of deputies], I have clarified that our country and the whole Europe will be bound to deal with the issue of migration for many decades.

[…] The system of borders surveillance and rescue at sea for the control of [migratory] flows in the Channel of Sicily amounts to the operation “Mare Nostrum”, urgently decided by the Italian Government following the shipwreck in Lampedusa mainly in order to avoid other shipwrecks and deaths.

The implementation of Mare Nostrum costs 9 million euros per month […].

It is therefore necessary that the EU takes more decisively charge of migratory issues, both by widening and strengthening the role of Frontex and by intervening on the reluctance of Member States to be more directly involved in the operations managed by this European agency and aimed at the control of the maritime borders.

Concerning Frontex activities, I have stated yesterday, and I would like to reiterate it before this Assembly, that I will make Frontex a central topic of the Italian Presidency of the EU Council. Frontex should take on a leading and coordinating role not only when it comes to patrolling activities in the Mediterranean, but also with regards to operational cooperation with the countries of origin and the transit of migratory flows.

And he added:

[…] The issue of solidarity among European countries should change its focus from the efforts to contrast migration to the reception of migratory flows.

In this framework, the Dublin Regulation, which is grounded on the principle of the responsibility of the country of first entry, fully shows its inadequacy […].

In so far as asylum seekers or refugees are not allowed to freely move within Europe according to their wishes and plans, we will continue to suffer from an unfavourable position. This condition fosters uncontrolled migratory flows towards other Member States and costly repatriations to our country.

It seems logical to establish European offices in the countries that are truly open to cooperate. These offices should be responsible for carrying out a first screening of the migrants’ situation and will, in order for these migrants to become European refugees as opposed to refugees of a single Member State […].

The need to improve the efficiency of the reception system presupposes the acceleration of the decision process on applications for international protection.

[…] the asylum application both needs and deserves a response. To this end, the process should be very clear. If the response is negative, a repatriation of the applicant should follow; if otherwise the application is accepted, the migrant should be received. However, if the latter happens, we ask Europe to ensure that the migrant is free to lawfully move in the whole European Union, and is not bound to remain in Italy.

The Italian version of the statement can be found at:

http://documenti.camera.it/leg17/resoconti/assemblea/html/sed0213/stenografico.pdf

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