14 April 2014: The President of ANCI, Piero Fassino has officially requested, in a letter to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, a “special session of the Joint Conference take place in the next few days” with the Prime Minister and of the Ministers of the Interior, Economy, Defense and Welfare present, to review the current situation of emergency landings, and to come to agreement together regarding a national Action Plan that will make it possible to balance the need to provide immediate solutions and to have the full involvement of the local authorities in whose territory reception is being carried out”. The letter follows the request by Mayor Enzo Bianco during the Joint Conference’s meeting yesterday.
13 April 2014: The Interior Ministry reports that pursuant to a directive from the Interior Minister, reception of migrants and asylum seekers will be spread throughout Italy, while waiting for the financing for the expansion of the SPRAR (Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees) system, from the current 9,400 spaces to over 19,000 spaces. Italy’s Prefectures are ready to provide initial reception and assistance to the numerous refugees and migrants who have arrived in Italy in recent months from countries in North Africa. The reception plan, drafted by the Department of Civil Liberties and Immigration, is an integral part of Minister Alfano’s directive to guarantee reception and rapid procedures for managing immigrant arrivals.
12 April 2014: Since Italy’s government initiated the rescue operation “Mare Nostrum” in October 2013, following the tragic shipwrecks that resulted in more than 600 deaths, more than 20,000 people have been rescued at sea. The total number of persons who have reached Italy by sea this year is over 18,500.
11 April 2014: “Immediately systematize the SPRAR network and the 7,000 new places available. Immediately issue a directive that doesn’t leave it just to the Prefectures to deal with arriving migrants but provides for planning with municipalities and local organizations. Immediately convene a Joint Conference on the immigration emergency, with the Prime Minister involved”.
10 April 2014:Next week, probably Tuesday or Wednesday, there will be a special session of the Joint Conference to Manage the Immigration Emergency, the Minister for Regional Affairs, Maria Carmela Lanzetta announced while speaking with journalist at the end of the State-Regions Conference. Participating at the meeting will be Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the Ministers of the Interior, Angelo Alfano, of Defense, Roberta Pinotti, and of the Economy, Pier Carlo Padoan. “During the meeting”, Lanzetta added, “the Government will respond to the Municipalities regarding SPRAR funds. We are working to the utmost to mitigate the grave problems of the Regions that are being hit by the emergency”. On the Joint Conference’s
10 April 2014: At a well-attended conference of RIRVA (Rete Italiano per Ritorno Volontario Assistito – the Italian Network for Assisted Voluntary Return) on “Assisted Voluntary Return, Migratory Policy, and Co-development” held on April 9th, participants overwhelmingly expressed support that assisted voluntary return should become an important part of Italy’s immigration policies.
By providing information regarding options and conditions in the home country, by providing travel funds and funds for basic needs upon arrival in the home country, and by working with migrants to establish a reintegration plan and providing connections to agencies that will work with the migrants to support their reintegration, the RIRVA network permits migrants in precarious conditions in Italy to intelligently decide whether to return to their home countries. Since the beginning of the RIRVA project in 2009, over 38,000 foreigners have departed Italy voluntarily and with coordinated assistance, a 250% increase over the number of departures prior to the project.