The measure “ITA 5 – Professional development activities and study visits” of the Operating Plan 2017 for Italy focuses on helping the Italian authorities to enhance the quality and the harmonisation of international protection procedure and to improve the implementation of the Common European Asylum System. In this framework, EASO recently organised a two days Study-Visit in Switzerland for an Italian delegation.
Even if they are not EU Member States, since the beginning of the program, Norway and Switzerland were participating to the European Relocation scheme on voluntary basis. In particular, the Swiss government signed a special agreement with Italy, according to which 900 migrants from Italy will be relocated in the Confederation during the entire period.
The Swiss SEM (State Secretariat for Migration) is the established Authority to manage all these cases of Relocation from Greece and Italy. Completely modernized two years ago, SEM is the Swiss federal office that regulates the conditions under which foreigners can enter, live and work in Switzerland, and that examines all the applications for asylum.
Adhering to the principle of burden sharing, SEM is responsible not only for regularly sending national experts into EASO operations, but also for trying to strengthen relations at high level between Switzerland and other countries.
In this context, Mario Gattiker, the State Secretary, welcomed for the first time an Italian delegation of 21 members of the National Asylum Commission for a two days Study-Visit on the 6th and 7th March.
He was very pleased to receive this Italian colleagues and thanked EASO for the opportunity provided to both countries to strengthen their bilateral cooperation.
Coming from many different cities (Genova, Turin, Verona, Bologna, Rome and Lecce) participants joined a first day of presentation in Berne of SEM’s activities, missions, goals and achievements so far. They had the possibility to understand the functioning of the Swiss asylum and reception system and compare it to their own. The second day was dedicated to the visit of one of the five Swiss Centres for Reception and Procedures in Vallorbe, where they observed the daily workflow, grabbed good practices and exchanged personal experiences.
Such activities potentiate and efficiently diversify EASO support to Italy, that can already count on a permanent presence of about hundred national experts and cultural mediators deployed in the Hotspots and the dedicates centres from September 2015.