EU Dublin Regulation on asylum must be surpassed: Italian PM ahead of EU summit
Conte made his remarks while addressing both houses of the parliament ahead of a EU summit scheduled in Brussels on June 28-29, where the migration policy of the bloc was expected to be among the top issues.
As such, this mechanism has resulted in most of asylum claims being submitted in the EU countries geographically most exposed to arrivals, such as Italy, Greece, and Spain.
A large part of migrant flows towards Europe come through the Mediterranean -- especially after the closure of the so-called Balkan route in spring 2016.
Italy has registered the third highest number asylum requests in the world (behind Germany and U.S.) in 2016 and 2017, according to recent data by the Interior Ministry and the UN refugee agency UNHCR.
The country received 369,056 asylum requests -- and processed 287,979 of them -- between 2015 and June 2018.
"Yet, the duty to save people at risk -- which obeys to the duty to rescue at sea and to international law -- cannot become a duty to process all asylum claims on behalf of everyone (in the EU)," the prime minister pointed out.
ROME, June 27 (Xinhua) -- The Dublin Regulation on asylum mechanism within the European Union (EU) must be surpassed, and not just reformed, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday.
"There is no doubt the Dublin Regulation is completely inadequate in terms of management of migration flows," the PM told lawmakers in a broadcast speech in parliament. "It is crucial to surpass such regulation."
If the Dublin Regulation could be overcome in the forthcoming EU summit, this would mark "a turning point", according to the Italian prime minister.
The new right-wing government led by Conte -- formed on a coalition of anti-immigrant League and anti-establishment Five Star Movement -- has showed a much tougher approach, since it entered into force in early June.
"A principle must be maintained: the people who disembark in Italy -- and the same goes for Greece, Malta, or Spain -- disembark in Europe."
"Italy has saved the honor of Europe for years," Conte said, referring to the search-and-rescue activities carried out by Italy's navy and coast guard since the first mission in the Mediterranean was launched in October 2013.
"Italy -- with its contribution, especially on migration -- can help make such appointment a watershed, and a point of change for all Europe," Conte told the lower house.
The PM also stressed Italy was a net contributor to the EU budget, and therefore worthy of "more attention".
The Dublin Regulation is a crucial part of the EU asylum system, and rules that asylum seekers must lodge their claim in the EU country where they first land and their fingerprints are stored.
Italy's previous center-left cabinets had strongly called for a reform of the Dublin Regulation, and for a more even distribution of asylum seekers, since 2016, but with no much result.
It voiced strong criticism towards both EU partners seen as unwilling to share the burden, and aid groups helping rescuing migrants in distress at sea.