The Under-Secretary to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers on migratory flows and human trafficking


On 18 September 2015, during a meeting of the Chamber of Deputies, the Under-Secretary of State to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Mr Gianclaudio Bressa, answered a parliamentary question on the opening of humanitarian channels for migratory flows as well as possible measures to curb human trafficking. Mr Bressa stressed the need to achieve a European right to asylum and described the measures adopted by the Italian government. He stated:

Faced by this migration crisis, I believe we have contributed in a crucial way to raise awareness in Europe on the need to work first on reception, in order to achieve a European right of asylum that goes beyond the Dublin Regulations – and at the same time to use in a better way, at the European level, the rules of repatriation. The increased awareness of the migration crisis also allowed to widen the scope of operation in the Mediterranean of the Frontex agency, namely the Triton operation.

As far as the idea is concerned […] of establishing hotspots in the countries where migrants leave from in order to identify those among them who are eligible for the refugee status, I note that this request is already included among the proposals made by the Italian Government during its semester of presidency of the European Union. The initiative, currently under examination in the Agenda on Migration presented by the European Commission, would imply an earlier decision on the applications for international protection, whose examination would be made by structures of the European Union established in transit countries. These structures, in cooperation with the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration, could also decide the destination of the migrant, on the basis of previous agreements between Member States.

Mr Bressa then stressed the actions undertaken by the Italian Government:

At the same time, the Italian Government has shown willingness to cooperate with the UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies to identify in countries particularly affected by the migratory flows those people who are eligible for international protection – in particular, the most vulnerable of them – and could be resettled in Italy or other European Union countries. These initiatives, besides providing a better future to refugees, are a way to reduce the “market place” of human traffickers. Furthermore, they represent a tangible manifestation of solidarity towards third countries that are on the frontline in the management of migratory flows in crisis areas.

Since 2010, Italy has been engaged in the resettlement within its boundaries of hundreds of Afghan and Iraqi refugees. Moreover, thanks to the contribution of the European fund AMIF, procedures are being conducted in close cooperation with the UNHCHR for the resettlement in Italy of 450 Syrian citizens from Lebanon and 50 Eritrean citizens from Sudan. Lastly, Italy has positively assessed the recommendation through which the European Commission proposed, in the framework of the European Agenda on Migration, to reinstall in Europe, over a period of two years, 20 thousand refugees located in third countries. But all these activities and figures tell us that the current tragedy is bigger than the commitments that we have taken, and that we must increase not only the awareness but also the determination that we have to do and can do more. 

Still on the subject of resettlement, the Ministry of the Interior has joined a project called EU-Frank, funded by FAMI and led by the Swedish Agency of Migration. The aim of the project is to develop tools and strategies to help the Member States of the European Union as well as its associated States implement national programs of resettlement. The project is expected to start next autumn and will last five years, until 2020.

He then concluded by saying that:

It is important for us to work on transit countries, as we are doing, for example, in Niger. Definitely, this does not represent the solution of the problem but, still, is a useful contribution to managing and, in part, also downsizing the migratory phenomenon. I agree, in conclusion, [… on] the importance of hampering the trafficking of human beings, a matter that is considered as a priority by the Government, as witnessed by our participation in the EuNavForMed operation. As I said before, this is the only way we can deter this heinous trade, stopping or at least limiting it.

The full text of the statement (in Italian) can be downloaded here.

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