EC opens infringement procedure over migrants

Renzi blasts EU partners for forgetting crisis

(ANSA) - Rome, December 10 - The European Commission on Thursday said that it has opened an infringement procedure against Italy for failing to respect the rules on the collection of the fingerprints of asylum seekers upon entry into Europe.
    Greece and Croatia have also been hit with the procedure.
    The move regards the alleged failure to correctly implement the Eurodac Regulation, which demands the fingerprinting of asylum seekers and transmission of data to the Eurodac central system within 72 hours. "The European Commission sent administrative letters to Greece, Croatia and Italy in October," an EU statement said.
    "Two months later, concerns have not been effectively addressed.
    "The European Commission has therefore decided today to send Letters of Formal Notice to Greece, Croatia and Italy (the first step of an infringement procedure)". Beforehand, Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said it would be "unreasonable" of the European Commission to open infraction proceedings against Italy. "For the work we've done, the only thing we deserve from the EU is a thank you," Alfano said. Italy and Greece have borne the brunt of the Mediterranean migrant crisis and Rome has repeatedly complained that it is not getting enough help from its EU partners.
    The EU sought to respond to Rome's complaints this year with the adopting of the Commission's Agenda on Migration.
    This features the establishment of a EU naval force powered to tackle human traffickers and the tripling of funding for migrant-rescue operations in the southern Mediterranean.
    In exchange Italy has agreed to set up EU hotspots to manage new asylum seekers.
    But progress on a deal to redistribute refugees from Italy and Greece to other parts of the union has been slow.
    Indeed, Renzi blasted Italy's EU partners for having attention deficiency regarding the crisis.
    "In Italy we don't let ourselves get emotional for a moment and then forget what's happening, as some European colleagues do," he said. "We are different to other countries, who scream after a tragedy and then forget.
    "Something has moved but Europe is not doing all it can.
    "Italy does not need help, we can do without Europe: it is Europe that cannot betray itself and its ideals.
    "It's not enough to salve one's conscience by giving some countries some money".
    Renzi also said his government will "never" stop saving refugee and migrant lives in the Mediterranean. "Never ask Italy to give up on its identity," he said at a Rome conference on the Mediterranean.
    "Even at the cost of losing votes we will never stop saving human lives in the Mediterranean, even at the cost of being criticised and insulted".
    EU Affairs Undersecretary Sandro Gozi directly took issue with the EC 's decision. "The solution isn't to apply in a short-sighted and rigid way the common rules against those who have done much more, and better, than others.
    "This is not the response we expect from Europe".


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