European Commission working on Renzi migration compact

More hotspots needed in Sicily. Brenner controls 'not necessary

19 May, 14:05

    EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos

    BRUSSELS - The European Commission is working on a document developing the migration compact proposed by Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, sources said on Thursday.

    The document, which will include a part devoted to financing a new system to manage asylum seekers, will be presented at the June summit of EU leaders, the sources said. European Home Affairs and Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos sent a letter to Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano Thursday saying that Austrian border controls at the Brenner Pass were not necessary.

    He said he had informed Vienna "that for the moment we cannot see the need to reintroduce border controls at the Brenner (Pass) in current circumstances, and that decision can only be taken as a measure of last resort, after an evaluation to see if it is fitting and proportionate". Avramopoulos added that he had "reiterated (to Vienna) that the Schengen Code forbids the installation of fences or other permanent structures at internal borders. However, in the cases in which border controls are temporarily reintroduced it is possible, in an exceptional way, to adopt temporary measures to channel migratory flows, if necessary and proportionally".

    Avramopoulos also said in his letter that Italy needed to set up more hotspots in Sicily for asylum seekers as they arrive.

    "It's fundamentally important that Italy intensifies the efforts being performed to provide the necessary reception conditions and prevent escapes," he wrote. "While recognizing Italy's major effort to address the situations, I observe that many landings take place away from hotspots and the planned mobile groups are not yet operative. "It is important to prepare the supplementary hotspots identified in Sicily". It is feared that, after the closure of the Balkans route, asylum seekers will be diverted to others, such as the central Mediterranean one to Italy. European Commission spokesman said Thursday that "the European Commission fully supports Italy and is continuing to work in close contact with Italy to address the refugee crisis".

    Earlier the EC said Italy should open more migrant registration hotspots in Sicily. Italy is facing a rise in migrant and refugee arrivals from North Africa after the closure of the route through Greece following an EU-Turkey deal. Avramopoulos said the idea of putting migrant hotspots on board ships "is being studied fully by our experts and we will soon give the result of this study; it is a good idea". But he stressed that "the technical and legal means to implement it" must be studied. (ANSAmed).

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