Hundreds of migrants have continued to pour into Italy each month throughout 2019 | Photo: ANSA/RENATO INGENITO
Hundreds of migrants have continued to pour into Italy each month throughout 2019 | Photo: ANSA/RENATO INGENITO

A total of 392 migrants have been relocated to other European countries by request of the Italian government since September. The most recent transfer took place just before the Christmas period on December 20, when 132 migrants were relocated to Germany.

As 2019 drew to an end, total of 132 migrants were transferred from Italy to Germany on a flight from Rome to Berlin last Friday, the Italian Interior Ministry told the ANSA news agency. 


It added that two days earlier, 64 asylum seekers had departed for Paris, bringing the total number of migrants relocated to other European countries on Italy's request to 392.

More relocations in the pipeline

Among those who departed on the direct flight to Germany on December 20 were migrants who had disembarked from various rescue missions in previous months, such as those who had arrived in Italy on the Sea-Watch on June 29 and those who had been rescued by the Ocean Viking and had been brought to Italy on September 19 and 24.

Aside from those saved by private rescue missions, there were also various migrants among those transferred last week, who had been rescued by various governmental maritime vessels.

In the first half of January, another flight is planned to transfer a total of 100 asylum seekers, raising the number of transfers to almost 500.

Relocations part of new direction in EU migration policy

The interior ministry said that the 392 migrants relocated since September were the "concrete result" of "more effective European solidarity," referring to the Valletta pre-accord signed in September by Germany, France, Italy and Malta. Since the agreement, there were nearly 100 transfers per month, compared to the average of 11 in the first eight months of 2019.

"Aimed at speeding up relocation procedures, one of the pillars of the Malta pre-accord establishes four weeks from disembarkation as the maximum time for the effective redistribution of asylum seekers to countries that provide availability," the ministry said in a statement.
 

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