Since September the UN migration agency has relocated some 124 asylum seekers from Italy to other EU member states. On Thursday, October 15, a group of 60 asylum seekers was flown from Crotone in the south of Italy to Hanover in Germany.
The UN migration agency IOM has been busy over the last few months, relocating over 100 asylum seekers from Italy to fellow EU member states. The latest transfer saw 60 asylum seekers boarding a flight from Crotone in the southern region of Calabria to Hanover in Germany.
The Italian government's tweet makes clear that these transfers are being made on the basis of the Malta agreement from September 2019. It said that so far 1,139 transfers had been made and more would be following shortly.
One of those on board the flight was Moustafa from Mali. He told the IOM he was looking forward "to learning German and being able to communicate with the locals."
Moustafa’s fellow asylum seekers had been housed in reception centers in several different Italian regions, including Lazio, which surrounds the capital Rome, Calabria and Sicily in the south of the country.
49 asylum seekers were transferred by the IOM from Italy to Germany back in September, along with 59 from Italy to France, 12 to Portugal and four to Finland.
In a press release, the IOM said it would "continue to support and direct assistance to beneficiaries of relocation," along with its partners which include the Italian interior ministry, the Italian local health services, the Director General for Migration and Home Affairs at the European Commission and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).
The IOM stated that these relocations are "part of a new phase" which has been implemented since December 2019. Initially the relocations were supported by the Italian government, now they are being financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) at the European Union. The transfers are being managed by the European Commission which intends to "coordinate and sustain joint efforts for the next year."
IOM called the transfers a "concrete gesture of European solidarity which aims to redistribute asylum seekers from countries of arrival to the other EU Member States in a safe and legal manner."
New life in Germany
Part of the IOM's role is to make sure the asylum seekers in question are provided with enough information about the country they are traveling to, so that they have an "awareness about what lies ahead for them in the country of relocation." Special attention is paid, states the IOM "to asylum seekers' health needs and conditions, as well as all necessary precautions concerning COVID-19."
In the picture taken of the group at Crotone airport, many of those on the flight looked relatively young, and proudly held up IOM bags for the camera as they waited with their suitcases to board the plane.
The day before, IOM Malta, on October 14 supported the relocation of another 81 asylum seekers from Malta to Germany.
In 2019, according to the Asylum in Europe database, Germany received 221 transfers of asylum seekers from Italy under the Dublin procedure and transferred out 2,575 towards Italy, again under the Dublin regulation which means that an asylum seeker’s case should be processed in the first EU country they enter in the bloc.