Italy needs a more structured response to large-scale arrival of migrants

In a report on the large-scale arrival of mixed migratory flows on Italian shores, the PACE Migration Committee commends “improved efforts by the Italian authorities to respond to emergencies, in particular through the Mare Nostrum operation, while it underlines that there are yet further structural challenges within the Italian and European migration policies in dire need of action to make the systems fit for purpose.
The report, prepared by Christopher Chope (United Kingdom, EDG), adopted by the Committee on 3 June, stresses that “Italy’s emergency responses are insufficient for addressing reception and protection needs in the long run” and recommends that the country adopt an integrated and structured approach to migration.

On the one hand, adequate reception capacities, proper identification and subsequent control of movement of the identified people, swift and transparent processing of mixed migration flows are requirements that need to be fully met by the Italian authorities. On the other hand, the European authorities have to redefine their immigration policies and regulations and to support them with adequate financial and operational means, the report says.

Whilst calling on the Italian authorities to take action to identify, arrest and bring to justice those engaged in trafficking, the Migration Committee also recommends that the Committee of Ministers considers ways of introducing a new international crime, possibly defined as a crime against humanity, when a person receives a financial benefit for transporting people in a vessel which is unsafe for the purpose and which may cause death or injury at sea. It should also encourage the authorities of relevant countries to open negotiations on the modalities and conditions of return to countries of embarkation of migrants intercepted in the international waters.

The committee finally welcomed the announced priority given by the Italian authorities to the development of a common European response to arrivals of mixed migratory flows on European southern shores during its forthcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The report by Mr Chope, together with Tineke Strik’s (Netherlands, SOC) second report on “The left-to-die boat” will be discussed in a joint debate during the PACE plenary session in Strasbourg on 24 June.