memorandum by Mr Chope, rapporteur
The increased arrival of mixed migratory flows on
Europe’s southern shores has been receiving the Parliamentary Assembly’s
attention for more than a decade.Note
Alarmed by new arrivals of irregular
migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, the Assembly held an urgent
debate in April 2011 and adopted Resolution 1805 (2011)
on the large-scale arrival of irregular migrants, asylum
seekers and refugees on Europe’s southern shores.
The current report, however, deals more particularly with
the specific challenges faced by Italy. In 2011, a total of 62 692
non-nationals managed to cross the Mediterranean Sea, mainly from
Tunisia and Libya, as a result of the tensions in the southern Mediterranean
countries, and landed on Italian shores.Note
In 2012, 12 000 people arrived
in Italy by boat. According to the Italian Minister of the Interior,
by mid-August 2013, over 17 000 migrants had landed in Italy. Between
1 July and 10 August 2013 alone, 8 932 people crossed the Mediterranean
Sea and reached the Italian shores. By late August, hundreds more
migrants reached Italy on dinghies.
When preparing the report, I visited Lampedusa together with
the members of an ad hoc sub-committee of the Assembly on 23 and
24 May 2011, when the arrivals were at a peak.Note
also returned to Italy in order to go to Rome and Sicily from 9
to 11 October 2012. I would like to thank the Italian authorities
and all interlocutors for the information provided during these
4. In 2011, the increased influx of mixed migratory flows and
the way in which the Italian authorities dealt with the presence
of irregular migrants, refugees and asylum seekers had significant
repercussions both for the country and the human rights of the people
concerned. It also had repercussions for the rest of Europe, as a
number of those arriving in Italy then made their way to other European
5. It is, however, worth underlining that Italy’s response was,
and is, insufficient insofar as it is mainly based on dealing with
an “emergency” situation. Even though 2011 was in many respects
a year out of the ordinary, due to the Arab Spring, boat arrivals
in a country with a coastline and border of over 7 000 km at Europe’s southern
borders should not be a surprise and Italy has been faced with such
arrivals for many years. An emergency response to a situation which
repeats itself regularly, as 2013 has once again demonstrated, is
not an adequate answer.
6. Because of the context of dealing with the Arab Spring in
2011, one could have expected greater European solidarity in assisting
Italy. This assistance did not materialise however.
2 Arrivals in Italian
coastal areas and Italy’s emergency-based response
7. In 2008, nearly 37 000 people arrived on Italian
shores. In 2009 and 2010, strengthened border control measures and
increased co-operation with southern Mediterranean countries to
prevent departures and to return irregular migrants led to a significant
decrease of arrivals in Italy and numbers went down to less than 9 600
and 4 400 respectively.
8. According to statistics provided by the Ministry of the Interior,
the 2011 arrivals in the context of the Arab Spring, however, reached
a new dimension, with a total of 62 692 people landing on Italian
shores. Among the mixed arrivals were about 32 800 people of different
nationalities who had mainly fled the conflict in Libya and who
subsequently requested international protection, as well as 29 900
irregular migrants, most of whom came from Tunisia and Egypt. More
than 57 700 third-country nationals arrived on the island of Lampedusa.
In contrast, the number of arrivals went down in 2012, when only
about 12 000 people arrived by boat in Italy. In the spring and
summer of 2013, a number of boats carrying hundreds of migrants
and refugees arrived in Lampedusa. Over 17 000 boat people have
landed on Italian shores so far this year.
The coast guard and the customs police have undertaken invaluable
efforts to save lives at sea. In contrast, people smugglers have
taken advantage of the unstable political conditions in Tunisia,
Egypt and Libya to organise and facilitate thousands of unsafe departures.
It has been estimated that more than 1 500 irregular migrants, asylum
seekers and refugees drowned or went missing in 2011 while attempting
to cross the Mediterranean Sea.Note
2.1 Italy’s policy
response to arrivals in 2011: The “North African Emergency”
10. In 2011, Italy was confronted with serious difficulties
in coping with these increased arrivals, even though the number
of irregular migrants, asylum seekers and refugees seemed to remain
manageable for a country such as Italy with a population of over
60 million people.
11. As soon as the first boats arrived on Italian shores, the
government declared, by decree of 12 February 2011, a state of humanitarian
emergency. In October 2011, the so-called “North African Emergency”
was extended until 31 December 2012. Within this framework, the
government adopted urgent measures to deal with the large-scale
12. In particular, the tiny island of Lampedusa was faced with
a local emergency, with tens of thousands of people landing in the
first half of 2011. These people found themselves stuck on the island
and had to sleep on the streets or at the docks, due to limited
reception capacities and delays in transfers. Although the conditions
in the reception centre had improved when I visited Lampedusa with
the ad hoc sub-committee delegation in May 2011, they were still
unsuitable for holding people for a prolonged period.
13. Italy remains a front-line European country for sea arrivals
of mixed migration flows. The Arab Spring has demonstrated once
again that, however strict the border management policies might
be, Italy, due to its geographical situation, must always be ready
to face large-scale sea arrivals.
3 Italy’s policy
towards irregular migration: between resolute fight and laissez-faire
14. Measures to control borders and counter irregular
migration are a legitimate prerogative of the State. They are essential
for an effective migration management system. These measures, however,
have to be carried out in full respect of international human rights
and refugee standards, and in particular the principle of non-refoulement.
For several years, Italy has been fighting irregular
migration at its borders, including by implementing a push-back
policy aimed at intercepting migrants’ boats on the high sea and
returning them to Libya. While this policy has proven successful
in reducing arrivals by sea, it has been questioned in terms of
conformity with international human rights and refugee law. Italy
was eventually condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for
its push-back practices in a judgment in the case of Hirsi and Others v. Italy
16. Although the Italian policy has not been officially revoked,
the Italian Government has indicated that they will no longer undertake
push-back operations and will respect the European Court of Human
Rights’ judgment in the Hirsi and Others case.
17. The adoption of the so-called “Bossi-Fini” law in 2002 and
the “Dalò security package” in 2009 are other examples of laws that
have tightened measures affecting irregular migrants (referred to
as “illegal immigrants”) and criminalised their “illegal entry and
stay in the territory of the State”.
18. Following the landings on Lampedusa in 2011, the Italian authorities
continued their strict approach of countering irregular migration.
In March 2011, the chief criminal prosecutor of Agrigento in Sicily
started to open criminal cases on charges of “illegal immigration”
against around 6 000 Tunisians who arrived on the island after mid-January
2011. Fishermen have also been prosecuted for smuggling irregular
migrants into Italy. With growing numbers of arrivals, it became
apparent that criminal sanctions alone would not provide an adequate solution
to the problem.
19. As far as push-backs are concerned, a worrying incident occurred
in August 2013. The Italian authorities instructed two commercial
ships (the Salamis and the Akadent)
to rescue two groups of migrants in distress off the Libyan coast,
but then ordered them to transport the migrants back to Libya. The
captain of the Akadent did as instructed. This
raises the issue of push-backs, as it is clear that none of the
migrants were given the chance to claim asylum. Furthermore, this
incident also highlights, once again, the difficulties commercial vessels
are faced with once they rescue migrants. By contrast, the captain
of the Salamis refused to sail to Libya to
disembark the migrants. For several days, Malta and Italy refused
to allow the people on board to be disembarked on their territory.
Finally, Italy agreed to take them. This kind of situation not only
has serious economic repercussions for the commercial vessel but
raises serious humanitarian and legal issues in relation to the
migrants on board.
20. As indicated, many of the measures adopted by the Italian
authorities were not only controversial, but also brought Italy
problems in terms of its international obligations. These measures
also had an impact on those who succeeded in entering the country.
3.2 Detention policies
21. According to Italian law, foreign nationals without
any legal permit to stay can be detained in administrative detention
facilities, known as Centres for Identification and Expulsion (CIEs),
for a period of 30 days, renewable for a maximum period of 18 months,
both for identification purposes and pending their removal.
Currently, 13 CIEs are operating in Italy, with a total capacity
of over 2 000 places. According to the Ministry of the Interior,
more than 7 700 irregular migrants, including about 900 women, were
detained in 2011 following the boat landings. Almost half of them
were Tunisian nationals. Since 2011, the number of people detained
has fallen, and on 5 November 2012, less than 800 migrants were
held in migration detention throughout Italy.Note
In addition, Centres for first aid and reception (CSPAs) were
also used to detain irregular migrants upon arrival. This was the
case for Lampedusa’s main reception centre, which at times has been
functioning as a migrant detention centre in practice without providing
for the necessary safeguards applicable to detained people.Note
24. The conditions of detention differ considerably throughout
Italian CIEs, including centres where the conditions are deemed
sub-standard with respect to the services provided. Only a few centres
reach satisfactory standards. Indeed, there is no regulation of
the minimum standards for detention facilities.
The large number of riots and escapes, but also of suicide
attempts among migrants is a sign of their frustration and despair.
In 2011, an unprecedented series of riots occurred and 787 migrants
managed to escape from Italian CIEs.Note
sections of the centres in Turin, Rome, Milan, Gradisca, Brindisi,
Modena and Bologna were devastated and burned during the riots and
the reception pavilion in the centre on Lampedusa was completely
destroyed by arson. Only three days before I visited the CIE Contrada
Milo in Trapani, Sicily, 40 migrants had succeeded in escaping from
the detention centre.
26. Asylum seekers may also be detained if they have been issued
with an expulsion order prior to their application for asylum, or
if they have previously served a prison sentence. Alternatives to
detention are not applied. In this context, the UNHCR reported difficulties
they face in accessing the asylum procedure during detention.
27. Furthermore, there is currently no independent monitoring
procedure in place that allows for regular visits to places of detention.
However, the Italian Senate approved, in October 2012, the law to
ratify the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against
Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
(OPCAT), which allows for the establishment of National Preventative
Mechanisms (NPMs). Two options are currently envisaged: creating
a new specialised institution or establishing a new national human
28. The extension of the maximum period of detention does not
appear to have resolved the issue of irregular migration management
and raises serious human rights challenges, including the problem
that the detention facilities are not adapted to long-term detention.
In practice, I was informed that migrants are no longer detained
for more than six months, which renders the existence of a maximum
detention period of 18 months unnecessary. A closer monitoring of
the detention facilities should be put in place and minimum standards
should be defined.
3.3 Return policies
29. Once they have entered the country, it is not an
easy task to return irregular migrants. The ability to effectively
perform expulsions depends largely on effective co-operation by
the countries of origin in terms of identification and readmission.
30. Since the beginning of the 2011 migratory arrivals, Italy
has entered into agreements with the new North African governments.
These co-operation and readmission agreements were concluded in
continuity with previously signed friendship agreements between
Italy and the former regimes, and focused on reinforcing border
controls through preventing irregular migration and fighting smuggling
and trafficking. They also facilitated the return and readmission
of those who crossed the Mediterranean.
31. On 5 April 2011, Italy reached an agreement with Tunisia according
to which Italy granted a six-month temporary residence permit to
most of the Tunisian migrants who arrived in Italy between 1 January
and 6 April 2011 in exchange for strengthened border controls by
Tunisia with a view to preventing departures. As a consequence,
irregular departures from Tunisia declined significantly. Approximately
18 000 humanitarian permits were issued by the Italian authorities.
These were extended on request in October 2011 for about 5 000 Tunisians
and again automatically in May 2012.
32. Recent readmission agreements between Italy and both Egypt
and Tunisia have, however, been criticised, as they provide for
simplified return procedures for new arrivals and allow direct repatriations,
which might amount to collective summary removals. Based on these
agreements, nationals from these countries are generally processed
within 48 hours after landing with the assistance of consulate authorities.
33. Some steps have also been undertaken to increase the number
of voluntary returns. The authorities recognised voluntary return
as one option to overcome the North African Emergency and agreed
on allocating the sum of 1 200 euros per person (in comparison with
200 euros previously), in addition to social and professional reintegration
measures in the country of origin.
34. While a swift processing of irregular migrants presents an
effective means of avoiding lengthy detention periods, accelerated
procedures raise several concerns as to their conformity with the
procedural guarantees set out in the European Union Returns Directive,
the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5) and the Schengen
Borders Code. If people are not given time to make an asylum claim,
the procedures may also raise concerns under asylum law.
In this context, it should be said that the Assembly has already
called on Council of Europe member States to carry out returns only
in accordance with the “Twenty Guidelines on forced return”, adopted
by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers in May 2005. It
also called on Mediterranean member States receiving mixed flows
of irregular migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to “promote the
use of assisted voluntary return programmes with the support of
Italy should only sign bilateral readmission agreements with countries
providing full guarantees in terms of respect of human rights. A comprehensive
approach to mixed flows, accelerated procedures and assisted voluntary
returns should be prioritised.
3.4 Informal way out
of the country
36. Once detained irregular migrants have been identified,
they may be returned to their country of origin. However, many people
cannot be identified and leave the centres without any documentation
or legal status. They are issued an order to leave Italy within
seven days, which is necessarily left without effect. This results in
a large number of irregular migrants who find themselves in the
streets without having been returned and without any assistance.
In addition, many people do not want to be identified and try to
continue their journey to other European countries.
37. Some officials did not hide from me that, given these difficulties,
irregular migrants may unofficially be encouraged to go up north
and cross over the Italian border into other Schengen countries.
Many of them drifted into irregularity and moved on to other European
countries, as the permits granted by Italy allowed for travel within
the Schengen zone.
38. The ease with which irregular migrants can find a way out
of Italy and drift north into the rest of Europe is an issue which
other European countries have criticised Italy about and is one
which will need to be tackled. It was particularly obvious in the
case of Tunisians in 2011, and it will continue to be a bone of
contention until dealt with.
4 The consequences
of Italy’s policies towards arrivals: structural deficiencies
39. Due to the fact that the Italian authorities previously
focused mainly on combating irregular migration, the organisation
of the public reception scheme presents certainly the weakest aspect
of Italy’s asylum and migration management system. In recent years,
some progress has been achieved, but this is largely insufficient.
4.1 2011: A delayed
response to an immediate problem
40. In the context of the 2011 arrivals in Italian coastal
areas, the situation was particularly critical on Lampedusa. As
mentioned earlier, in March 2011, conditions on the island and its
reception centres (also used as detention centres) were extremely
bad, due to massive overcrowding and the island’s dependence on
the mainland for provision of basic goods and services. According
to the Italian authorities, at times more than 6 500 people were
present on Lampedusa and thousands were forced to sleep outdoors.
The belated official response and considerable delays in transferring
arrivals added to the humanitarian emergency on Lampedusa, which
could have been avoided. Only in mid-March 2011, when the situation
had deteriorated to the point that it became unmanageable, did the
Italian authorities effectively start to regularly transfer thousands
of migrants by ship or military planes to Sicily and other locations
in Italy. This allowed the situation to improve.
41. Once the immediate reception needs were taken into account,
there was still a need to deal with the specific reception needs
of asylum seekers.
The existing capacities in Italy in terms of reception were
nevertheless insufficient to meet the increased needs. More than
34 000 asylum applications were lodged in Italy in 2011.Note
According to the
UNHCR, Italy only has about 5 000 regular reception places. In addition,
SPRAR (Protection System for Asylum-seekers and Refugees) projects
cannot host more than 3 000 people, with 500 places reserved for
vulnerable people. I therefore welcome the intention of the Italian
authorities to increase the reception capacity of the SPRAR system
to up to 5 000 places.
43. Italy’s reception capacities of asylum seekers thus remain
limited. Italy also faces abuse of the asylum system. Numerous economic
migrants claim asylum and overload the protection system, thereby
weakening the system for those who genuinely need it. In 2011, migrants
from the North African Emergency (mostly third-country nationals
coming from Libya) were channelled into the asylum procedure almost
automatically by the Italian authorities. The number of regular
reception places is already small, even for the years without an increase
of arrivals, so clearly insufficient to meet the increasing needs
in 2011. I therefore welcome the intention by the Italian authorities
to increase the reception capacities. This is badly needed to deal
with the regular number of sea arrivals.
4.2 An important effort
weakened by mismanagement
44. In the context of the declaration of the North African
Emergency, the central government asked regional and local authorities
to identify additional facilities in a remarkable effort to provide
the reception capacity required. Both agreed on an emergency reception
plan, which set out criteria for the distribution of new arrivals across
the country, based on regional quotas. More than 20 000 refugees,
asylum seekers and migrants were hosted in the framework of the
plan throughout Italy. Between 2011 and 2012, the Italian Government
spent more than 1.2 billion euros on reception facilities.
45. But Italy had to face major problems regarding the mismanagement
of these governmental funds by the Civil Protection Department.
A particular problem was that the funds did not go to the reception
centres that had been providing accommodation for refugees and asylum
seekers who arrived during the North African Emergency. In effect,
the contracted Civil Protection system was gradually infringing
on the SPRAR reception system, which was bypassed by the central
authorities to deal with the emergency situation. When this situation became
clear, the Civil Protection Department was officially excluded from
the management of the North African Emergency in June 2012. However,
the core problem remains the lack of structural readiness of the Italian
authorities and the weakness of the ordinary system.
46. These errors have, however, seriously hampered integration
measures. In many cases, recognised refugees and asylum seekers
have not been able to benefit from the assistance normally provided
to them and have struggled to access housing. Thousands of them
have become homeless.
The situation was particular worrying in Rome, given that
1 000 new asylum seekers were moved to the city. In May 2012, over
1 700 people – the majority coming from Afghanistan, Sudan, Ethiopia,
Somalia and Eritrea and having obtained residence permits – were
living in large unoccupied buildings, informal squats, or even on
the streets in squalid conditions. The Council of Europe Commissioner
for Human Rights criticised the “intolerable circumstances” of refugees
and other beneficiaries of international protection who were forced
to live in “destitute conditions”, which he considered “unacceptable”
in a country like Italy.Note
4.3 After the emergency
During meetings I held in Rome in October 2012, I
also discussed the implications of the planned ending of the North
African Emergency funding on 31 December 2012 for the 20 000 people
who arrived during the emergency period and who were hosted in the
various reception facilities throughout the country. While all outstanding
asylum applications were assessed before that date – according to
UNHCR around 30% of applicants were granted protection –, the authorities
considered that providing vocational trainingNote
and a work permit alone
would be sufficient to allow recognised refugees to provide for
themselves. While I was told by the authorities that all necessary
legislative steps would be taken in due course to ensure that the
ending of the North African Emergency funding on 31 December 2012
would not have severe consequences for those who benefited from
it, I have not been able to obtain any information proving that
this was indeed the case, despite my official request to the Italian
delegation to provide me with a relevant update. On the contrary,
it would seem that the emergency measures have ended and that the
situation has gone back to the previous routine without any attempt
to work on the roots of the problems.
49. Another concern was the category of people who were not granted
any protection status, but could not be sent back to their countries
of origin or to Libya where they came from. Asylum claims of migrants
of various nationalities, who had been staying without any legal
status in Libya and were forced to flee the conflict to Italy, were
largely denied international protection by the local commissions.
Thus thousands of people risked drifting into an irregular situation.
I was informed that the government was considering reassessing their
asylum claims and granting them humanitarian protection, making
use of European Union funding. Furthermore, the Italian authorities
adopted an amnesty law, which provided the opportunity for certain
undocumented migrants who were working and who had the agreement
of their employer to regularise their status between 15 September and
15 October 2012. About 100 000 people have applied for this, including
some of those caught up in the Arab Spring exodus.
50. The sudden increase in numbers of people arriving from North
Africa certainly put Italian reception capacities under strain and
revealed structural deficiencies concerning the emergency-based
approach in managing mixed migration flows. The near absence of
an integration framework for refugees and other beneficiaries of
international protection and the lack of support available for these
people has, as a result, now become even more apparent and problematic.
5 The European dimension:
Europe’s insufficient response to the arrivals of migrants
51. I have described above the difficulties encountered
by Italy in dealing with the new arrivals in 2011 and the lack of
an adequate response. The Italian authorities did, however, promptly
call on the European Union and its member States for assistance
in dealing with the problem.
5.1 Financial and operational
assistance provided to Italy
52. The European Union replied to Italy’s appeal by allocating
supplementary emergency funding of €25 million, in addition to the
€75 million Italy had at its disposal in 2011 through the European
Commission’s four migration-related funds. This money allowed a
range of costs to be covered, including transport from Lampedusa
to Sicily or to the mainland, and the improved reception, screening
capacity and return of irregular migrants.
53. Operational assistance was provided via the European Agency
for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders
of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex), which stepped
up maritime operations and surveillance in response to the arrivals.
Joint operation “Hermes” took place from 20 February 2011 to 31
March 2012. This operation, requested by Italy, aimed to implement
co-ordinated sea border activities to control irregular migration
flows from Tunisia towards the south of Italy, mainly Lampedusa and
Sardinia. Frontex also deployed screening and debriefing experts
to Sicily and the Italian mainland to gather information needed
to analyse migrants’ nationalities and to detect and prevent possible
54. In the aftermath of the arrivals of 2011, a number of measures
to better cope with large-scale arrivals have also been taken by
the European Union at policy level. These include a European Union
Action on Migratory Pressures – A Strategic Response “to prevent
and control existing pressures that derive from illegal immigration
as well as abuse of legal migration routes”. This is based on a
broader perspective stressing the need to strengthen controls at
the Greek-Turkish border and to prevent irregular migration via
the Western Balkans. This shows that the issue is one which is much
broader than that affecting the Italian coast in 2011.
5.2 The missed opportunity
for intra-European solidarity
55. One can sympathise with the Italian authorities and
understand their difficulties in dealing with a sudden large influx
of sea arrivals. However, Italy’s response to these arrivals in
some ways worsened the situation. The belated response was political
and insufficient. Italy wanted to send a message to its neighbouring countries
and to the whole of Europe that it was not able to cope, and that
Europe should act and share the burden.
56. Italy’s policy response of providing irregular migrants with
temporary residence permits, allowing them in practice to travel
freely inside the Schengen area, did not help convince other European
Union member States to share responsibility. Many considered this
move irresponsible and counterproductive – and in the end it had
no other effect than to jeopardise potential efforts for more solidarity
It is a regrettable missed opportunity for more European solidarity,
since the 2011 Arab Spring was a particular challenge. Many refugees
and asylum seekers had no other choice but to flee conflicts and
war, putting their very lives at risk on unseaworthy boats. Member
States of the Council of Europe have to show more solidarity with
the “front-line” States, as I already stated in my report on “Asylum
seekers and refugees: sharing responsibilities in Europe” (Doc. 12630
). The large-scale arrival of refugees and asylum-seekers following
the Arab Spring should have been a test case for more solidarity.
The new test case is Syria, but indications that Europe will do
better with the refugee situation engendered by this crisis, are
not, for the moment, promising
58. The large-scale arrival of migrants in Italian coastal
areas resulting from the unrest surrounding the “Arab Spring” was
a unique event. Italy, however, has become a transit destination
for tens of thousands of economic migrants as well as for asylum
seekers and refugees. Currently, with the relaxation of visa requirements
for those travelling to Turkey from the Maghreb countries, the preferred
route for many economic migrants is via the Mediterranean coast
of Turkey by boat to the shores of eastern Italy. Italy, therefore,
needs to face up to the reality that the arrival of mixed migratory
flows is not a “one-off”, but is continuing.
59. During the last decade, Italian migration policy almost exclusively
focused on countering irregular migration and preventing migrants
from entering Italian territory. One major aspect of this policy
was the repeated declaration of the state of emergency to enable
the adoption of “extraordinary” and ad hoc measures outside of the
limits set by national and international laws and regulations. It
is not surprising that the Italian Government was ill-prepared to
manage the large-scale arrivals as a result of the Arab Spring,
given that there was neither an integrated migration policy in place
to deal with an increased number of arrivals, nor a strategy on
how to deal with even larger scale emergency situations.
60. The arrivals as a result of the Arab Spring have shed light
on the structural deficiencies within Italy, notably in terms of
reception, detention and return. Although the emergency approach
allowed the Italian authorities to take ad hoc measures in response
to the migratory pressures, the emergency situations could have
been avoided had Italy elaborated an integrated strategy with effective
mechanisms to manage and receive increased arrivals of mixed migratory
flows, while safeguarding the human rights of those people caught
up in those flows, in particular during detention and return.
61. The Italian authorities should have been able to deal with
the refugees and asylum seekers resulting from the “Arab Spring”
without the need for outside help. The problem, however, is that
the Italian authorities have not adopted an effective policy of
preventing economic migrants being attracted to Italy because their systems
of detection and deterrence are inadequate. This has added to the
pull factor of Italy as a destination for economic migration, particularly
among those seeking a better life inside the Schengen area of the European
Union. On my visit to Italy, I heard many anecdotes about economic
migrants being encouraged to leave Italy by crossing one of the
Schengen land borders. It has been a frequent complaint of the Italian authorities
that most economic migrants do not want to come to Italy as their
final destination. The impact of the Dublin Regulation has, therefore,
had the perverse effect that if economic migrants are not processed
in Italy, Italy cannot then be required to accept the return of
those economic migrants when they are later identified as having
entered other European countries without authority. The lack of
centralised government in Italy also reduces the incentive for regional
authorities to detect, detain and return economic migrants who reach