A border point between Slovenia and Italy in Lipica, Slovenia | Photo: EPA/Igor Kupljenik
A border point between Slovenia and Italy in Lipica, Slovenia | Photo: EPA/Igor Kupljenik

Two migrant-aid organizations are accusing authorities in northeastern Italy of illegally returning asylum seekers to Slovenia. They also claim that readmission procedures between Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia prevent people from asking for asylum in the EU.

The Italian Consortium of Solidarity (ICS) and Catholic charity Caritas in Trieste published a statement on May 28, saying that they were strongly concerned about "the implementation of informal readmissions of migrants" from Italy to Slovenia.

The two organizations provide housing to immigrants in the province of Trieste in northeastern Italy, near the border with Slovenia.

ICS and Caritas said that it is illegal for authorities to return those who intend to apply for asylum. They said asylum requests must be registered before authorities check whether the applicant might have applied in another EU country. Under the Dublin Regulation, asylum seekers can be transferred back to the first EU country where they were registered.

Migrants 'illegitimately sent away from EU'?

ICS and Caritas also claimed that readmission procedures between Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia enabled authorities to "illegitimately turn away... those who have entered to apply for protection" from European Union territory. These people, "are subjected to grave violence throughout the so-called Balkan route," they said in their statement. 

Pierpaolo Roberti, the security councilor of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, where Trieste is located, responded to the statement, saying that authorities will "move ahead with informal readmissions." He said that the police and the prefect had his "full support." Roberti belongs to the far-right League party, which is known for its harsh anti-migrant policies.

He said he hopes that "as many people as possible continue to be readmitted to Slovenia and, in addition, that we strive to totally stop that migration flow."
 

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