Italy won’t take back asylum-seekers, says PM

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Rome, June 20 (IANS/AKI) Italy will not receive back from other European Union countries migrants who registered there when they first arrived, populist Premier Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday after meeting EU Council President Donald Tusk here.

“I had a very useful meeting today with President Tusk and told him ahead of the (emergency) meeting (convened) in Brussels this Sunday that I am not open to discussing secondary movements,” Conte tweeted.

‘Secondary movement’ refers to travel to another EU country from the country the migrant first arrived in.

Under the current rules, migrants must claim asylum in the first country in the bloc that reach.

If they travel to another EU state before their asylum-application has been considered, that state can return them to the first country they entered – which most often is Italy.

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The leaders of Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Austria, Bulgaria, Spain and Malta have all been invited to attend Sunday’s meeting which comes just four days ahead of the June European Council summit at which migration will be a key focus.

Renewed and deep divisions have arisen between and within European governments over the migrant influx and the EU’s current asylum system which requires all migrants reaching the EU to register and claim asylum in the country where they fist arrive.

The current EU asylum system has put huge strain on the bloc’s frontier countries of Italy, Greece and Spain.

Italy, where over 700,000 boat migrants have arrived since 2014, has called in vain for other EU states to share the burden.

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–IANS/AKI

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