The European Commisison headquarters in Brussels | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/JULIEN WARNAND
The European Commisison headquarters in Brussels | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/JULIEN WARNAND

The European Commission has asked Italy to guarantee an effective and human repatriation program. Last week, Italy had announced a new decree to accelerate the expulsion of migrants from 'safe countries' who have no right to stay.

The European Commission has said through a spokesperson that it has "taken note" of Italy's new measures on repatriations. 

"Ensuring a repatriation policy that is effective and human and increasing the rate of repatriations of those who have no right to stay in the EU is a key objective of the EU's approach," the spokesperson said on Monday. "States' steps in this direction must be welcomed with favor."

"After the decree's approval we will study the details and evaluate its compatibility with EU laws," the spokesperson added. "We can't provide detailed comments now." 

'Safe country' - a tool to speed up applications 

"In general terms, the European Commission believes that the concept of 'safe country' is a tool to help speed up applications" for international protection, the European Commission source said. 

"In the context of the asylum reform, the European Commission has encouraged member States to use this concept, always based on the individual evaluation of cases, and in the respect of the principle of non-refoulement," meaning no push-backs to life-threatening places. 

Commission recommends fast repatriations 

The spokesperson also said that, ''since the start of its mandate, the commission has worked to support member states to strengthen repatriations, including through concrete recommendations set in 2017. Part of the recommendations concern faster procedures to process asylum requests to ensure fast repatriations when applicants come from a safe country of origin"

What's in the new decree   

In the decree proposed by the Italian government, 13 European and African nations are listed as 'safe' countries of origin. They are Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Ukraine, Ghana, Senegal and Cape Verde. For people from these countries, the wait time for an asylum decision would be cut from two years to just four months,

LGBT+ activists have criticized the decree, saying that many of these 'safe' countries are actually "dangerous for lesbian, gay, bisex and trans people."
 

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