EASO has been providing support to the Italian authorities since 2013, establishing good cooperation in several areas. After several Special Support Plans (2013-2016), since 2017 dedicated Operating Plans to Italy were signed encompassing all technical and operational assistance to the country.
On the basis of the results achieved in 2019 and the needs collected through consultations and constant dialogue with the Italian authorities, EASO’s Italy Operating Plan for 2020 intends to continue addressing the consequences of the disproportionate pressure on the Italian asylum and reception system. It also aims at contributing to prepare the system to better respond to potential future situations of pressure.
All activities under this Plan will be closely coordinated with the Italian authorities and with the steady support of the European Commission as well as with the other Agencies which are part of the European Union Regional Task Force (EURTF): the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and Europol.
Over the last years, Italy has witnessed a dynamic migratory situation. The unprecedented influx of migrants to Italy observed in 2014 (170 100 arrivals) and 2015 (153 842 arrivals) continued in 2016 (181 436 arrivals) and 2017 (119 369) and considerably decreased in 2018 (23 370 arrivals) and 2019 (11 471 arrivals).
While the backlog of asylum applications pending a final decision in first instance has decreased, partly thanks to EASO's intervention, the backlog in second instance has grown significantly. Furthermore, despite the substantial decrease in the number of arrivals, a significant number of asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection (refugees and subsidiary protection beneficiaries) remain present in the Italian reception system, and challenges with regards to uniform implementation of asylum procedures throughout the Italian territory are still in place.
Fragmentation in the Italian asylum and reception system affects both information systems and coordination mechanisms among stakeholders. In light of the pressure to which the Italian asylum information system has been exposed, the need for data alignment and integration has emerged. Enhancing such integration would facilitate data availability and improve analyses and reporting for Italian authorities. Similarly, a clear communication flow at central and regional or local levels among Italian asylum stakeholders is pivotal for the management and standardisation of asylum procedures.
Operating Plan: the measures
Measure 1: Support to the quality and standardisation of asylum procedures (including national, Dublin and ad-hoc procedures)
Firstly, EASO's support will focus on increasing the Department of Public Security’s (DPS) capacity at a central level to ensure promotion of standardisation of registration procedures. Additionally, there is a need to support the standardisation and sustainability of ad hoc procedures such as evacuations, humanitarian corridors and voluntary relocations.
Secondly, EASO intends to support the National Asylum Commission (NAC) in strengthening the standardisation of its internal procedures and its case management through enhanced quality of COI (Country of Origin Information) research.
Lastly, in continuation with 2019, EASO will improve the capacity of the Dublin Unit to manage and process outgoing Dublin requests and support better detection, efficient management and follow-up of Dublin cases by DPS officials in Questure. Special efforts will be dedicated to spreading and implementing best practices on Dublin applicants and applicants with special needs and vulnerabilities.
Measure 2: Support to the quality management and monitoring of the Italian reception system for adults and unaccompanied minors
In 2020, EASO will continue to assist the Department of Civil Liberties and Immigration (DCLI) in the refinement of sustainable financial and legal workflows related to the management of the reception system.
EASO's intervention will aim at an orderly transition in managing the new reception system, monitoring of reception quality, and ensuring SIPROIMI shelters are capacitated for an adequate reception of unaccompanied minors.
Measure 3: Support the reduction of backlog of second instance asylum cases in the Specialised Sections of Tribunals
In 2019 the Consiglio superiore della magistratura and the Ministry of Justice requested EASO’s support in addressing the backlog of pending cases in the Specialised Sections of Tribunals. This action will start with the deployment of research officers in six Tribunals, then it will be progressively extended to the other Tribunals during the year.
Measure 4: Enhancement of coordination mechanisms amongst Italian asylum authorities
The establishment of regular and systematic multi-stakeholder cooperation mechanisms will contribute to the harmonisation of asylum procedures within all phases. EASO’s support on the enhancement of coordination mechanisms amongst Italian asylum authorities entails an intervention that tackles both the national and regional multi-stakeholder dialogue, with the aim of fostering sustainable exchanges of good practices, discussions on practical obstacles, and the achievement of shared solutions.
Measure 5: Support the efficiency and standardisation of procedures and data collection through the development and management of information systems
In 2020 EASO intends to continue to support the development of a Sistema Unico Asilo (SUA) and other tools, in order to: improve and standardise scheduling systems for registration across the territory; improve data management through the establishment of a data warehouse; introduce a business intelligence information system; and enhance data availability and information.