Action plan to support Italy, reduce pressure and increase solidarity in the central Mediterranean route

The European Union and its member states have progressively laid out a stronger and more articulated policy response to save lives and better manage migratory flows in the central mediterranean, but the loss of life and continuing migratory flows of primarily economic migrants on the central mediterranean route is a structural challenge and remains an issue of urgent and serious concern.
Italy has already been taking important steps to support cooperation with Libya on migration management and to further improve the implementation of the european migration policy within Italy.
The recent Minniti law has the objective of making the Italian asylum and return system much more effective than today identifying quickly those in need of protection, while taking actions that can facilitate the swift return of economic migrants.
With the situation becoming ever more pressing along the Central Mediterranean Route, the european Union is setting out a series of immediate measures that can be taken by the european Member States and Italy itself.
Building on the work of the past two years to save lives at sea and manage the increasing numbers of arrivals along the Central Mediterranean Route, all actors now need to intensify and accelerate their efforts in line with the increasing urgency of the situation and the commitments undertaken by european leaders.The european Commission President said:

The dire situation in the Mediterranean is neither a new nor a passing reality.

We have made enormous progress over the past two and half years towards a genuine european migration policy but the urgency of the situation now requires us to seriously accelerate our collective work and not leave Italy on its own.

The focus of our efforts has to be on solidarity – with those fleeing war and persecution and with our Member States under the most pressure.

At the same time, we need to act, in support of Libya, to fight smugglers and enhance border control to reduce the number of people taking hazardous journeys to Europe.”

In particular, will be forseen a set of measures to be taken now to accelerate the european Union’s collective work along the central mediterranean route, including notably that:

  • further to enhance the capacity of the Libyan authorities through a €46 million project prepared jointly with Italy;
  • Support the establishment of a fully operational maritime rescue and coordination centre in Libya;
  • Step up funding for migration management in Italy, with an additional €35 million ready to be mobilised immediately;
  • Ensure a full mobilisation of european agencies
  • Launch and finance a new resettlement pledging exercise, notably from Libya, Egypt, Niger, Ethiopia and Sudan;
  • Work with Libya to strengthen controls at the southern border,
  • step up work to secure readmission agreements (or equivalent informal arrangements) with countries of origin and transit, with the support of Member States;
  • Engage further with Niger and Mali to prevent movements towards Libya;

at the same time, the member states will have to:

  • Accelerate relocation from Italy by responding more quickly to Italian requests, increasing pledges and pledging more regularly;
  • Help engage with Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria, to encourage them to join the Mediterranean Network, and call on Tunisia, Libya and Egypt to declare their search and rescue areas and establish a formal maritime rescue and coordination centre;
  • Accelerate discussions on the reform for allocating asylum applications within the european Union to provide a more stable framework for tackling these challenges in the future;
  • Mobilise their capabilities to support the return of irregular migrants from Italy;

and Italy should:

  • Draft a code of conduct for Non governative organisations carrying out search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean;
  • Fulfil its own commitments on relocation by:
    • registering, as a matter of urgency, all Eritreans present in Italy;
    • centralising and standardising the relocation procedure;
    • enabling the relocation of unaccompanied minors;
    • and showing greater flexibility on security checks arranged bilaterally with other Member States;
  • Implement rapidly the Minniti law, including by:
    • creating additional hotspot capacity;
    • increasing reception capacity and substantially increasing detention capacity to reach at least 3,000 urgently;
    • increasing the maximum period of detention in line with european law;
    • and significantly speeding up the examination of asylum applications at the appeal stage;
  • Step up returns by:
    • applying expedited return procedures;
    • making wider use of the rapid procedures and inadmissibility grounds;
    • developing a national list of safe countries of origin;
    • issuing return decisions alongside and together with asylum decisions;
    • considering the use of residence restrictions;
    • and refraining from providing travel documents to asylum seekers.

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