Migration Policy and Management under the “Conte 1” Government

The fight against “irregular” migration to Italy featured prominently in the election manifesto of the Lega (League – a right-wing political party) and was incorporated in the coalition agreement concluded between the two governing parties after the 4 March 2018 general election, namely the League and the Movimento 5 Stelle (Five Star Movement). Accordingly, on 5 June 2018, the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr Giuseppe Conte, outlined the approach on migration of the newly formed Italian Government during his first speech before the Senate of the Republic (9th Meeting, XVIII Legislature):

It is clear to everyone that the management of migratory flows as implemented to date has failed. Europe allowed – we must emphasize it – selfish positions by Member States, which ended up placing the burden, which should have been shared, on border States, first and foremost on Italy. That is why we will vigorously demand to go beyond the Dublin Regulation, so as to ensure actual compliance with the principle of equitable responsibility-sharing and implement automatic mechanisms for the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers. […]

We want asylum procedures to be well-established and swift, also with a view to more effectively ensuring that the rights [of asylum seekers] are guaranteed and that they do not live in uncertainty. […]

We must also re-organize the reception system and make it efficient with a view to ensuring the transparent use of public funds and preventing any infiltration by organized crime. Should there be no grounds for the stay [of migrants in Italy], we will take action to make repatriation procedures effective and, at the European level, to compel third States willing to conclude cooperation agreements with any EU Member States to ratify bilateral agreements for the management of migratory flows.

On the eve of the European Council of 28 and 29 June 2018, focusing on migration, Mr Conte had the opportunity to illustrate the position of the Italian Government and elaborate on its migration policy. At the 20th Meeting (XVIII Legislature) of the Chamber of Deputies, he described the Government’s “European multilevel strategy for migration” as follows:

We have identified ten objectives, which I shall briefly summarize. First objective: to intensify agreements and relations between the European Union and third countries of origin and transit of migrants, and to invest in projects of development, training, and employment, with a view to stemming emigration at its roots by preventing the flows and thus also reducing the ‘deadly journeys’. I am thinking, for instance, of intensifying relations with Libya, and with Niger, with whose help we have already significantly reduced the number of departures in 2018. […] European solidarity must emerge at this stage already, so as to more effectively protect the rights of migrants and, at the same time, the safety of our citizens. Second objective: to create international protection centers in transit countries in order to offer legal assistance to migrants, so as to deal with asylum requests earlier and more swiftly and organize assisted voluntary returns to the countries of origin. In order to achieve these results, we must of course involve international organizations as well, such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration, which have already declared their willingness to participate. More substantial resources are required […] for the EU Trust Fund for Africa; more specifically, the North of Africa window, to which we contribute significantly together with Germany, needs to be refinanced.

Third objective: to strengthen the EU external borders, not only by means of initiatives and operations under the auspices of the EU itself, but also by supporting the Libyan coast guard. We must also encourage agreements with North Africa and Middle East countries, where appropriate aimed at externalizing border controls, possibly in cooperation with EU personnel. Italy is already supporting these missions – EUNAVFORMED Operation Sophia and Joint Operation Themis – as well as the Libyan coast guard; but further efforts in this direction are needed.

Fourth objective, which I believe to be crucial: we must go beyond the Dublin Regulation, which needs not be amended in some of its aspects, but discarded, because there is no doubt now that it is wholly inadequate to manage migratory flows. […] The current Common European Asylum System is premised on a tragic paradox: the rights of asylum seekers are recognized only once those concerned have been able to reach European shores. This needs to be done at an earlier stage, also with a view to protecting their interests and providing security to our country.

Fifth objective: the first-country-of-entry criterion must be abandoned; it, too, is not adequate to manage migratory flows satisfactorily. The principle must be affirmed that those who land in Italy – and the same goes for Greece, Malta, and Spain – land in Europe. […] Italian shores are European shores; if Europe does exist, Schengen Europe, based on responsibility and solidarity, […] then the firstcountry-of-entry criterion must be reconsidered and abandoned.

Sixth objective: the EU and its Member States must take a collective European responsibility for the people, men and women, rescued at sea. It is inconceivable, as well as deeply unfair, that responsibility for the asylum requests only falls upon the countries of first entry. The notion that people who have been rescued in international waters and brought to shore in compliance with international and national obligations, e.g. after search and rescue operations, have ‘illegally crossed’ the sea must be abandoned. Basically, the identification of the place of safety must be kept separate from the identification of the State responsible for the examination of asylum requests. The obligation to rescue [at sea], which derives from the law of the sea and international conventions, cannot become an obligation to process applications on behalf of everyone.

[Seventh objective]: the EU must fight human trafficking, by means of collective initiatives and not only by relying upon individual Member States, and fight much more effectively the criminal organizations that fuel trafficking and the delusions of migrants.

Eighth objective: we cannot have all [migrants] in Italy or Spain; reception centers in more European countries are needed to protect the rights of those who arrive and avoid problems of public order and overcrowding. Moreover, in the context of shared responsibilities, relocations do need to be carried out in practice.

Ninth objective: the issue of secondary movements also needs to be addressed, of course, but by implementing the above-mentioned principles and achieving the above-mentioned objectives. [In this way,] intra-European movements of refugees will become negligible and could easily form the subject of effective technical arrangements between those countries that are most affected.

Tenth objective: each State sets entry quotas for economic migrants – it is a right that derives directly from the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Article 79(5)). It is a principle that, in my opinion, we must uphold, also considering that this does not seem the time to propose transfers of sovereignty on public policies concerning the management of migratory flows. Nonetheless, this principle must be balanced with the introduction and strengthening of suitable financial countermeasures against those States that refuse to take in refugees.

A first component of the “strategy” of the Italian Government, which broadly corresponds to the first three objectives mentioned above, thus consists in preventing the arrivals of migrants on the shores of Italy. According to the Government, this aim must primarily be pursued by concluding agreements with third countries of origin and transit of migrants – agreements that would essentially make development aid and investments conditional upon cooperation in the management of migratory flows. This approach has already been applied in the wellknown EUTurkey Statement of 18 March 2016[1] as well as in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Italian Government and the Libyan Government of National Accord on 2 February 2017.[2]

Pursuant to the Memorandum, Libya is to receive development aid in exchange for the establishment of reception centers for migrants (to be partially funded by Italy and the EU and managed with the support of international organizations) and enhanced action to limit departures to Italy on the part of the Libyan coast guard (to be trained and equipped with the support of Italy and the EU).[3] Similar agreements are being pursued by the EU with a number of African countries; as yet, however, no major progress has been made, as the African partners appear reluctant to accept the externalization of the management of migratory flows proposed by the EU, especially in the form of centers for the reception of migrants and the examination of their asylum requests.[4]

To date, the Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and Libya is thus one of the main instruments in the hands of the Italian Government to stem migratory flows from Africa. This is notwithstanding the fact that multiple reports by international organizations and NGOs have described widespread and serious violations of the rights of migrants in the official and unofficial reception centers in Libya, including in the form of arbitrary detention, forced labor, and torture.[5] However, the incumbent Italian Government has denied the allegations and defended the agreement with the Libyan counterpart.[6]

Upon a request for clarification made by a member of the Chamber of Deputies at its 20th Meeting (XVIII Legislature), on 27 June 2018, the Minister of the Interior, Mr Matteo Salvini, declared to be “proud” of a reception center for migrants created in Libya thanks to the support of Italy, and he reaffirmed the intention of his Government to

test […] the feasibility of opening centers for the protection and identification of migrants at the external borders of Libya, which, as is well known, are the main point of entry of migrants who are victims of trafficking across the Mediterranean.

Minister Salvini also referred to the plan by the Italian Government to donate twelve more patrol vessels to the Libyan coast guard and train the respective crews, in order to “keep saving and protecting lives in the Mediterranean Sea”.

On the other hand, the Italian Government rejected, on a number of occasions, the proposal made by Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy, an opposition party) to implement a naval blockade off the Libyan coast in order to prevent migrants from crossing the Mediterranean. On 18 September 2018, at the 46th Meeting (XVIII Legislature) of the Chamber of Deputies, the Undersecretary of State for Defense, Mr Angelo Tofalo, pointed out that

international law considers [naval blockades] a method of warfare, which can thus be employed legitimately only during international armed conflicts at sea. […] Its use against a third State amounts to starting an armed attack. During peace time, following the entry into force of the Charter of the United Nations in 1945, the blockade is not allowed except in cases of self-defense and is laid down in Article 42 of the Charter as a measure at the disposal of the Security Council for the maintenance of peace and international security, should measures not involving the use of armed force be deemed ineffective. Naval blockades cannot, thus, be associated with the current and previous controls over irregular immigration by sea […]. [T]he Italian Government is at the forefront in supporting the Libyan authorities recognized by the international community with a view to strengthening their ability to manage the complex challenge of migration […]. Any form of support on our part is based on respect for the sovereignty of Libya and any action is aimed at enhancing the capacity of the various security forces to exercise State authority at sea and on the land with increasing effectiveness.

This kind of support would imply, according to Undersecretary Tofalo, “broadening and strengthening capacity-building activities in Libya, as far as [Libyan authorities’] actions in the SAR area and their policing of land borders are concerned”. The capacity-building efforts undertaken by the Italian Government, especially as regards the patrolling of the Mediterranean, have also had an impact on the identification of the authorities responsible for the coordination of rescue operations and on the choice of the “place of safety” for migrants rescued at sea. The Italian Government has maintained that the Libyan authorities are now capable of coordinating rescue operations in Libya’s Search and Rescue (SAR) area;[7] and that Libya itself should be considered a “place of safety”, where migrants who are rescued can be returned, because their life is not threatened there.[8] This notwithstanding the fact that, as recently as September 2018, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) explicitly stated that it “does not consider that Libya meets the criteria for being designated as a place of safety for the purpose of disembarkation following rescue at sea”, in light of the situation of political instability, when not open conflict, in Libya, and of the systematic abuses perpetrated against migrants and asylum seekers in the country.[9]

In relation to the case of a cargo ship, the Nivin, which rescued a group of migrants in the Libyan SAR area and took them to the port of Misrata, where the migrants however refused to disembark, on 21 November 2018, at the 88th Meeting (XVIII Legislature) of the Chamber of Deputies, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Enzo Moavero Milanesi, stated that the Libyan coordination center took control of the rescue operations in accordance with the relevant international treaties and that the actions by the Italian Government also complied with its international obligations. He further reassured that the Italian Government was following up on the conditions of the migrants who were forcibly disembarked from the ship by the Libyan authorities.

On the basis of the assumptions that Libya can be a “place of safety” for migrants and that the Libyan coast guard can take charge of rescue operations, the Italian Government, most prominently in the person of the Minister of the Interior, Mr Salvini, refused on several occasions to allow into Italian territorial or internal waters NGOs’ rescue ships which had declined to return migrants to Libya.[10] From a different but related viewpoint, entry into Italian waters and ports has also been refused to ships that should have, in the opinion of the Italian Government, disembarked migrants in Maltese ports (because the rescue operations were carried out in the Maltese SAR area and/or because Malta was a closer “place of safety”, again according to the Italian Government),[11] but were not authorized to do so by the Maltese authorities.

This was the case for the incident that, at the beginning of June 2018, involved the Aquarius, a ship rented by the NGOs SOS Méditerranée and Médecins Sans Frontières to carry out rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Following the refusal by the Maltese authorities to coordinate the rescue operations and authorize the disembarkation of the migrants concerned in Maltese ports, Minister Salvini apparently denied the Aquarius the authorization to dock in an Italian port (including by tweeting “#closeports”);[12] the stalemate was solved by the offer from the Spanish Government to receive the 629 rescued migrants.[13]

Nonetheless, requested to clarify the timeline of events, on 20 June 2018, at the 18th Meeting (XVIII Legislature) of the Chamber of Deputies, the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Mr Danilo Toninelli, to whom Article 83 of the Italian Navigation Code grants the power to refuse commercial vessels entry into and transit through territorial waters, denied that a formal order to “close” Italian ports to the Aquarius had been given. According to his version of events, “the willingness shown by the Spanish Government to open the port of Valencia has been welcomed”. However, he also recalled that the Minister of the Interior is entitled to prevent a ship of the Italian coast guard from putting into an Italian port, even if the authorities governing the city that hosts the port are willing to let the ship in.

This is what happened in the case of the Diciotti ship, an Italian coast guard vessel that, after saving the lives of 190 migrants, was authorized to dock in the port of Catania only two days after the rescue operations had taken place and was forbidden to disembark the migrants on board for another week. These delays were due, on the one hand, to the conviction on the part of Italy that, under the relevant international norms, the fact that Malta had taken charge of the rescue operations also entailed the country’s duty to identify the place of disembarkation;[14] and, on the other hand, to the attempts by the Italian Government to agree with other EU countries on the re-distribution of the rescued migrants. As explained by the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr Conte, on 12 September 2018, at the 35th Meeting (XVIII Legislature) of the Senate of the Republic:

the Italian Government has maintained from the beginning that the Diciotti case needed to be dealt with according to the principles of solidarity and responsibility-sharing among EU Member States, which apply to the management of migratory flows. […] The Italian Government is reiterating to the other EU Member States and the EU institutions that it is firmly convinced that the definition of a stable and sustainable mechanism for the comprehensive management of disembarkation, re-distribution and returns cannot be further delayed. […] If such a mechanism were not set up […], the principles of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility, which are specifically laid down in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, would be breached.

After an Irish military vessel participating in EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia disembarked a group of rescued migrants in the port of Messina on 8 July 2018, the Minister of the Interior, Mr Salvini, tweeted:

After blocking the ships of NGOs, I will bring to the European summit in Innsbruck [on 12 July 2018] the request from Italy to prevent the vessels involved in international missions currently operating in the Mediterranean from landing in Italian ports.

Asked by the 3rd Commission (Foreign Affairs) of the Senate to clarify the position of the Italian Government on the future of the joint European missions in the Mediterranean, the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ms Emanuela Del Re, declared EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia to be “of major strategic importance for Italy”, in consideration of the fact that its main task has become the training of the Libyan coast guard on border control and rescue operations. She added:

The issue of where to disembark shipwrecked migrants who are rescued by the military vessels involved in EU operations […] is currently being considered by the Italian Government. As highlighted by Minister [Moavero Milanesi], it is not the intention of Italy to abandon international missions. The aim is, rather, to clarify a complex issue […].

Vice-Minister Del Re thus explained that, although Operation Themis (started in early 2018) did not identify, unlike Operation Triton, Italy as the port of disembarkation, Operation Sophia is based on the older rules of Triton. In light of this, as reported by Vice-Minister Del Re, the Italian Government planned to ask other EU Member States to change the operational framework of the missions so that Italy would not invariably be the port of disembarkation in the context of EUNAVFOR MED operations. In the opinion of the Italian Government,

the rules followed by the vessels involved in international missions in the Mediterranean can and must be revised, because as they stand today, they contradict the principle of European solidarity […].

The principles of solidarity and responsibility-sharing among EU Member States featured prominently in the statement by Vice-Minister Del Re, who expressly cited Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU as their legal basis. Nonetheless, the main result of the refusal by Italy to receive the migrants rescued in the context of EU missions has been to date the drastic removal of the vessels, which have been replaced with increased air patrols.[15]

The policy of “closed ports” has been linked by the Italian Government to the perceived unfairness of the Dublin Regulation. Indeed, a significant reform of the Regulation, and particularly of its founding principle by which applications are to be examined by the EU country where asylum seekers first arrive, has long been called for by Italy.[16] A rethinking of the system with a view to alleviating the burden on Member States at the EU external borders is thus the main component of the “strategy” outlined by President Conte once arrivals cannot be prevented and migrants do reach Italian shores. However, no consensus has been found to date among EU Member States on a possible reform of the current Dublin Regulation, due to opposing national interests; a new attempt to discuss the reform of the system at the European Council of 18 October was inconclusive.[17]

It is noteworthy that the principle of equitable responsibility-sharing, which, as mentioned, is strongly pursued by the Italian Government, is at the core of a non-binding international instrument, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which was adopted at an intergovernmental conference in Marrakesh on 10 December 2018 and endorsed on 19 December by the UN General Assembly. In essence, the Global Compact attempts to holistically approach the phenomenon of migration and promote intergovernmental cooperation on the matter.

The position of the Italian Government on the Global Compact has changed over time. Not only did the Gentiloni Government – which run the country from December 2016 to May 2018 – play an active role in shaping the Global Compact,[18] but the Conte Government itself initially strongly supported the adoption of the instrument, including by means of a solemn statement delivered by the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr Conte, at the General Debate of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly on 26 September 2018.

As late as 21 November 2018, at the 88th Meeting (XVIII Legislature) of the Chamber of Deputies, in response to a parliamentary question on the Global Compact, which alleged that the instrument would “seriously restrict the right of States to defend their borders”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Moavero Milanesi, reiterated the general support of the Italian Government to the document, while not taking a final position on its adoption. After recalling the non-binding nature of the Global Compact, the Minister underlined that

in the course of the negotiations that have taken place in the past months and years regarding this instrument, Italy has always considered it important to reach a fair sharing of responsibility in the management of migratory flows and to strengthen cooperation with countries of origin and transit. The document incorporates these principles of shared responsibility, partnership with countries of origin and transit, and fight against human trafficking; the obligation for countries of origin to readmit their own nationals is also provided for. These are elements that we seek to promote, including within the debate at the EU level. As far as the stance on the so-called Global Compact is concerned, I would point out that the President of the Council of Ministers gave a favorable opinion; at any rate, we will further examine the issue within the Government before possibly concluding the agreement, also in light of the Parliament’s observations.

The Italian Government ultimately decided not to participate in the Marrakech Conference and abstained during the vote at the UN General Assembly.[19]

At the internal level, the Italian Government intervened on the legal conditions of migrants staying on the national territory by abolishing one of the protection statuses recognized by the domestic legal order – namely, protezione umanitaria (humanitarian protection). Provided for by the Italian legislation as a further form of protection, in addition to the refugee status and subsidiary protection which are laid down in Directive 2011/95/EU, humanitarian protection used to be accorded when the applicant for international protection did not satisfy the requirements for the other two statuses, but serious reasons of a humanitarian nature or resulting from constitutional or international obligations of Italy applied (Article 5(6) of Legislative Decree of 25 July 1998, No. 286). In 2018, 7% of the applicants for international protection in Italy were granted refugee status, 5% subsidiary protection, and 21% humanitarian protection.[20]

On 4 July 2018, a circular was issued by the Ministry of the Interior in which the commissions responsible for the examination of asylum applications were invited to ascertain “more rigorously” the existence of the circumstances justifying the granting of humanitarian protection. In reply to a parliamentary question regarding the circular at the 27th Meeting (XVIII Legislature) of the Senate of the Republic, on 26 July 2018, the Minister of the Interior, Mr Salvini, announced that the Italian Government was

working on a ‘security package’ to legislate, like in the other European States, more directly and specifically on those instances in which [humanitarian] protection can be recognized. […] Our aim is to guarantee rights, within clear time limits, to those who deserve them.

The so-called security package was indeed approved as a decree-law on 4 October 2018 and subsequently converted into law on 1 December 2018 (Law No. 132).[21] The Act replaces humanitarian protection with the granting of residence permits in “special instances”, such as in the case of serious medical reasons, domestic violence, labor exploitation, and “exceptional disasters”. It also, inter alia, extends the list of crimes whose commission determines the revocation of the refugee status or subsidiary protection,[22] introduces an accelerated procedure for asylum seekers from third countries which will be identified as “safe”, extends the period of administrative detention for reasons of identification and repatriation, and increases the funding for return operations.

As a matter of fact, the increase in the number of returns of irregular migrants to their countries of origin has been one of the main election pledges by the League, and it features in the agreement concluded between the two government parties. To achieve this objective, bilateral agreements with countries of origin are needed, as illustrated by the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr Conte, at the 47th Meeting (XVIII Legislature) of the Senate of the Republic, on 16 October 2018:

During my visit to Addis Ababa [on 11 and 12 October 2018], I met with the leaders […] of the African Union, whom I explicitly asked to act as mediators to increase the number of repatriation agreements and support the strategy, which we are developing in Europe, to regulate and manage migratory flows. In this respect, I was met with considerable willingness […].

Notwithstanding the optimism shown by President Conte, no new bilateral agreements between Italy or the EU, on the one hand, and African countries of origin, on the other, have been concluded since the formation of the new Government.[23] In the face of persisting difficulties in concluding these agreements, the Ministry of the Interior has started to primarily pursue the avenue of voluntary returns by allocating funds to that end.[24] The fact remains that, over 2018, the number of irregular migrants returned to their countries of origin has been only slightly higher than the number of migrants returned in 2017 under the previous Government.[25]

[1] The Statement was agreed upon in order to “end the irregular migration from Turkey to the EU”, including by returning to Turkey migrants arriving on Greek islands (mostly Syrian and Iraqi asylum seekers).

[2] An unofficial translation in English of the text of the Memorandum is available here.

[3] The EU endorsed the Memorandum and committed itself to strengthen its cooperation with Libya by means of a Declaration: European Council, “Malta Declaration by the members of the European Council on the external aspects of migration: addressing the Central Mediterranean route”, 3 February 2017, available here.

[4] “African Union seeks to kill EU plan to process migrants in Africa”, The Guardian, available here . See, in this respect, the contribution by Fantinato in IYIL, 2016.

[5] See, among others, UN Support Mission in Libya and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Desperate and Dangerous: Report on the Human Rights Situation of Migrants and Refugees in Libya”, 20 December 2018, available here; and Human Rights Watch, “No Escape from Hell: EU Policies Contribute to Abuse of Migrants in Libya”, 21 January 2019, available here.

[6] The previous Government (Gentiloni Government), while recognizing that the conditions of reception centers for migrants in Libya constituted an issue, maintained that the cooperation between the Libyan Government and the Italian and European ones had led to a considerable improvement of the situation, inter alia, by allowing UNHCR to have access to reception centers in Libya and IOM to carry out voluntary and assisted returns: cf. the reply by the former Minister of the Interior, Mr Marco Minniti, to a parliamentary question at the 886th Meeting (XVII Legislature) of the Chamber of Deputies on 15 November 2017.

[7] Libya appears to have regularly declared its SAR area at the end of June 2018: “La Libia ha dichiarato la sua zona SAR: lo conferma l’IMO”, Vita, 28 June 2018, available here.

[8] For a thorough analysis of the notion of “place of safety” and the Italian practice thereon, see Turrini, “Between a ‘Go back!’ and a Hard (to Find) Place (of Safety): On the Rules and Standards of Disembarkation of People Rescued at Sea”, in IYIL, 2019 (also available here).

[9] UNHCR, UNHCR Position on Returns to Libya (Update II), September 2018, para. 42 in particular. For the reports of widespread abuses against the migrant population in Libya, see supra note 5.

[10] Following the end of the Mare Nostrum operation, set up by the Italian Government to save the lives of migrants crossing the Mediterranean, various NGOs have chartered ships with the same end, in an attempt to compensate for the inaction of the Italian and European governments. Over time, especially due to the increasing obstacles raised by the Italian Government to their activities (including in the form of a “code of conduct” imposed on NGOs by the former Minister of the Interior, Mr Marco Minniti, available here) many NGOs have stopped their operations. See, on this point, the contribution of Bevilacqua in this Volume.

[11] While Malta can be considered a “place of safety”, it frequently refuses the disembarkation of rescued migrants due to the limited capacity of its reception system.

[12] “Migranti, Salvini a Malta: ‘Accolga la nave Aquarius, porti italiani chiusi’. La replica: ‘Non è nostra competenza’”, la Repubblica, 10 June 2018, available here.

[13] “La Spagna accoglie l’Aquarius, ma l’azione delle ong si restringe”, Internazionale, 17 June 2018, available here.

[14] According to President Conte, this duty would persist “irrespectively of the situation of distress for the rescued people” – meaning, presumably, that such a situation would not shift the duty to other States.

[15] Council of the European Union, “EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia: mandate extended until 30 September 2019”, available here.

[16] The Italian Government, however, voted in favor of the Regulation when it was first approved by the European Council on 18 February 2003 (Council Regulation (EC) No 343/2003; so-called Dublin II Regulation). That Regulation has subsequently been replaced by Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013, which has left the first-country-of-entry criterion unchanged.

[17] For an overview of the terms of the institutional debate regarding the reform of the Dublin Regulation, see European Parliament, “Reform of the Dublin system”, Briefing – EU Legislation in Progress, 2019, available here. See also the European Council conclusions of 18 October 2018, paras. 1-6.

[18] On the point, see Pertile, “The Position of Italy on Large-Scale Migration: From the Migration Compact to the Principle of Shared Responsibility”, IYIL, 2016, pp. 569-571.

[19] The Resolution was adopted by the General Assembly with 152 votes in favor, 12 abstentions, and 5 votes against (by the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Poland, and the United States).

[20] See the statistics provided by the Ministry of the Interior, available here.

[21] For an analysis of Law No. 132, see Fattorini, “Reform of the Italian Regulatory Framework on Migration”, in IYIL, 2016.

[22] By including crimes such as violence or the threat of violence against public officials and aggravated theft under certain circumstances. It is doubtful, however, whether the inclusion of these crimes complies with the conditions that justify an exception to the principle of non-refoulement under the 1951 Refugee Convention and the EU Qualification Directive (“The benefit of the present provision [prohibition of expulsion or return] may not, however, be claimed by a refugee whom there are reasonable grounds for regarding as a danger to the security of the country in which he is, or who, having been convicted by a final judgment of a particularly serious crime, constitutes a danger to the community of that country”: Article 33(2) of the 1951 Convention; cf., similarly, Article 14(4) of the EU Qualification Directive).

[23] See supra note 3 in particular. On previous (recent) Italian practice in this field, see Spagnolo, “The Conclusion of Bilateral Agreements and Technical Arrangements for the Management of Migration Flows: An Overview of the Italian Practice”, in IYIL, 2016.

[24] Ministero dell’Interno – Dipartimento per le libertà civili e l’immigrazione, “Interventi di RVA&R per favorire il processo di reinserimento dei rimpatriati nei Paesi di origine”, 31 October 2018, available here.

[25] “Migranti, a che punto siamo con i rimpatri?”, Sky TG24, 15 February 2019, available here.

The full Italian version of the statements quoted above can be found here:

Minister Marco Minniti, Chamber of Deputies, 15 November 2017.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Senate of the Republic, 5 June 2018.

Minister Danilo Toninelli, Chamber of Deputies, 20 June 2018.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Chamber of Deputies, 27 June 2018.

Minister Matteo Salvini, Chamber of Deputies, 27 June 2018.

Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Emanuela Del Re, Senate of the Republic, 18 July 2018.

Minister Matteo Salvini, Senate of the Republic, 26 July 2018.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Senate of the Republic, 12 September 2018.

Undersecretary for Defense Angelo Tofalo, Chamber of Deputies, 18 September 2018.

Prime Minister Conte, Senate of the Republic, 16 October 2018.

Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi, Chamber of Deputies, 21 November 2018.

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