Foreign relations / Security and defence

Immigration, Italy gets first taste of European solidarity

Nineteen Eritrean asylum seekers were moved from Italy to Sweden under the new European rules on “immigration quotas”. The transfer was voluntary and involved nineteen immigrants who accepted to let themselves be identified.

The Italian Government lobbied hard in Brussels for the enactment of the responsibility-sharing rules, and the Minister of the Interior Angelino Alfano announced that further transfers will take place to Germany, the Netherlands and other Member States.

The quota system is based on transfers paid by the EU budget and will involve about 40,000 asylum seekers. The new rules were adopted by the European Institutions overriding the veto of some Member States of Eastern Europe.

The public debate over immigration has somehow faltered in Italy, with the opposition focused on the controversial constitutional reform which is under examination in the Senate.

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