Migrants on board the Sea Eye 4 before being disembarked on August 22, 2023 in Salerno, Italy. (Photo by Ivan Romano/Getty Images)


Germany suspends deal to accept migrants from Italy


Germany is no longer accepting refugees from Italy on the grounds that Italy is not respecting the Dublin III Regulation on returnees, thereby suspending its participation in the European Voluntary Solidarity Mechanism (EVSM).

A German government spokesman said on September 13 that Italy had stopped taking people returned from Germany under the Dublin rules “some time ago”. The regulation stipulates that asylum claims must be processed in the country where refugees first sought asylum.

The spokesman said more than 12,400 people were eligible to be returned to Italy but only 10 of them have been accepted back into the country. Once the Italian Government starts respecting the Dublin rules, the solidarity mechanism will be restored, the spokesperson stressed.

The German Government had pledged to help European Union Member States  overwhelmed by mass migration by voluntarily taking in 3,500 migrants from those states.

Germany has brought more than 1,700 people over from other EU countries through the EVSM since last year, including more than 1,000 from Italy. In that regard, Germany stated that its government is fulfilling its “humanitarian responsibility”.

On September 14, the Italian island of Lampedusa received over 5,000 migrants in just one day, breaking all records and far exceeding the capacities of the island. According to Italian interior ministry figures, more than 115,000 migrants made the crossing by boat to that country this year.

The solidarity mechanism originally designed to redistribute 8,000 people. Only one-third of that target had been achieved by mid-August.

Germany registered more than 200,000 requests for asylum in 2023.

The German opposition is critical of the government, targeting interior minister Nancy Faeser. “By stopping the voluntary intake of migrants from Italy, which she negotiated herself, Ms Faeser ultimately has to admit her failure,” Alexander Throm, the domestic policy spokesperson for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, told the AFP news agency.

Italy’s foreign minister Antonio Tajani called for a European-wide solution, saying on X: “Immigration is a European issue. It must be solved with the participation of all EU countries, and EU institutions must be part of the solution.

“The implementation of agreements with countries of origin and transit must be accelerated,” wrote the Forza Italia politician.

According to the European Commission, “The objective of the Dublin III Regulation is to ensure quick access to the asylum procedures and the examination of an application on the merits by a single, clearly determined EU country. The Regulation establishes the Member State responsible for the examination of the asylum application.”