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Italian minister says EU's migrant law needs revising

Kyenge says situation puts refugees, locals 'on knees'

17 October, 13:48
Italian minister says EU's migrant law needs revising (ANSA) - Brussels, October 17 - Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge on Thursday called for the European law on asylum seekers to be revised to help Italy cope with thousands of migrants arriving on its shores from North Africa.

The question is a hot topic after at least 400 people were killed in two separate migrant-boat disasters close to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa this month.

Kyenge, who was born in Congo and is Italy's first black minister, said the European Union's Dublin regulation, which states that only one member state is responsible for the examination of asylum applications, needs changing.

The aim of the regulation is to stop asylum seekers being sent from one country to another and help prevent abuse of the system. But some have said it is preventing the countries most exposed to migrant arrivals benefiting from the solidarity of their fellow EU member States. "The Dublin regulation remains a fundamental question," Kyenge said at a conference in Brussels.

"It's necessary to reopen the debate, because the (current) situation puts the migrants and all the people in the area (where they arrive) on their knees.

"I hope this is talked about at the summit of EU leaders on October 24 and 25".

Premier Enrico Letta has said he will push for the EU to provide more help to Italy to deal with the migrant crisis at the summit.

This week the Italian government launched a new mission with intensified patrols in the southern Mediterranean to try to prevent disasters like those that occurred this month.