Press Release Published: 5 October 2023
EU Asylum Agency to increase operational support in southern Italy
The European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) has initiated the process of doubling the number of resources in Lampedusa, as part of a redeployment of 50 personnel to the south of Italy. Depending on needs, the Agency is prepared to further increase deployments in the region with additional personnel.
In response to the increasing arrivals of irregular migrants in southern Italy, and as part of the Agency’s immediate implementation of the European Commission’s 10-Point Plan announced on 17 September, the EUAA has begun a substantive redeployment of personnel to support national authorities in the region.
While visiting Lampedusa on 4-5 October, Executive Director Nina GREGORI announced that EUAA Asylum Support Teams (ASTs) in southern Italy have already begun being strengthened by 50 redeployed personnel, including information and vulnerability experts, as well as cultural mediators.
The decision includes 16 deployments to Lampedusa, more than doubling the number of EUAA personnel previously on the island, to 31. Other personnel will reinforce ASTs in Porto Empedocle, Rocella Ionica, Crotone, Reggio Calabria, Syracuse, Pozzallo and Trapani.
The EUAA currently has over 330 personnel deployed throughout Italy, assisting the national authorities with registration, information provision, vulnerability identification, asylum processes, transfers, reception capacity and the EU’s Voluntary Solidarity Mechanism, amongst other operational activities.
Further deployments possible
In addition, the Agency is preparing different contingencies whereby even more personnel could be deployed to southern Italy if and where needed. These would largely not be redeployments, but rather be in addition to those already present in the country.
Ms. Gregori stated that she has included the option of activating the EUAA’s Asylum Reserve Pool (ARP) for the first time ever as a possibility. The ARP is part of the EUAA’s new mandate and foresees the ability to draw on a reserve pool of up to 500 Member State personnel to be deployed at short notice to EUAA operations supporting national authorities facing sudden and disproportionate pressures on their asylum and/or reception systems.
The EUAA is in continuous communication with the Italian authorities, as well as colleagues in the European Commission, Frontex and Europol, to coordinate all actions. Any decision for such further deployments will be made based on needs and developments.
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