There are four of them, they are twenty, twenty-two at the most. To communicate, they show a message on a Whatsapp chat, they want to know if they have arrived. The scene takes place in the atrium of a late 19th century building, a stone’s throw from the center of Trieste, while the sound of the rain passes through the wide open door on an uphill road. “They are Afghans, they have not yet decided whether to stop or continue”, explains those who welcome them in what is the headquarters of the Italian Solidarity Consortium (Ics), a non-profit organization that has been working since 1998 for the protection of refugees and asylum seekers in Friuli Venezia Giulia. President Gianfranco Schiavone provides them with initial information, explains the opportunity to immediately apply for asylum. “They arrived this morning: first there Turkey, then the Greece, the winter in Bosnia and again the Croatia, the Slovenia”, He says, certain that the final goal is not Italy. “Milano, they said, which then means foreign: France, perhaps Germany, where in 2020 25 per cent of all asylum requests made in theEuropean Union”. Italy stopped at 5 percent, abundantly under the France, the Spain, the Greece which receives 9 percent. “The perception of our country is in steady decline, arriving migrants are aware that we invest little or nothing in social inclusion ”, continues Schiavone, clarifying that the people welcomed in the province are mostly illiterate. “Whoever has an education, a qualification or a specialization does not stop, convinced that here will end up picking tomatoes”.
But it is not just a question of perspectives that pushes migrants to move away quickly from the province of Trieste. Or even to avoid it, as the prefecture and associations testify, attending one decrease in arrivals in favor of the province of Udine. “Easily a reaction to what has happened in recent years, and in particular in 2020”, Schiavone reasons referring above all to readmissions of migrants to Slovenia. And the delta of the Balkan route reacting to obstacles e try new ways, an incessant struggle that makes the Italian-Slovenian border the trench of the right of asylum in Europe that is struggling to find a common solution.
“On immigration Italy is year zero“. The judgment of Gianfranco Schiavone could not be more lapidary than a Trieste has dedicated itself to welcoming since the war in the former Yugoslavia. And he adds: “The logic of the emergency has never been overcome, rather let’s take steps backwards”. Next to the Caritas and a couple of social cooperatives, its Solidarity Consortium manages 750 of the 1100 people present today in territorial reception system of the province of Trieste. No large centers with hundreds of people, but “widespread reception, in small structures, mostly apartments scattered throughout the territory “. A virtuous model also according to the prefecture and which instead shows the signs of security decrees of the first Conte government. “The model held up because no one was found to provide the service under the conditions imposed by the reform. In particular, we opposed the prediction of a fifty-to-one ratio between migrants and operators that would have reduced our work to pure surveillance “, explains Schiavone, who due to the cuts has also seen a quarter of the employees of the Consortium, with consequent downsizing of assistance services and educational paths: from legal advice to professional training, to the teaching of the Italian language.
But the most tangible sign i Salvini decrees they left it on the border, starting with the establishment of the “transit and border area“For the whole territory of the province of Trieste and of Gorizia. In part, it involves the implementation of new rules desired by the EU, which for these areas provides for the possibility of applying one accelerated asylum application procedure to those who come from a list of countries that the Union presumes to be safe. To submit an application you have just 48 hours and the Territorial Commission, which will have to decide on it, has just one week to hear the interested party. Not much for practices involving people mostly between 18 and 25 years old, often illiterate, who need an interpreter able to clarify their rights and duties. And if recently many migrants cross the border further north, directly entering the province of Udine which is not part of the transit and border areas, it is no coincidence.
But there is more. With the security decrees, Italy wanted to go further, extending the accelerated procedure to how many “they evade or try to evade ”border controls. “Unlike the maritime borders, the land border between Italy and Slovenia is a border within the Union and to Schengen Convention, and therefore devoid of formal checks “, recalls the lawyer Anna Brambilla dell’Association for Legal Studies on Immigration (Asgi). In short, it is difficult to prove that there was an intention to evade a control if the control is absent. “Yet some accelerated procedures have been initiated and motivated to do so,” says Schiavone. “Procedures to which we have opposed and on which there has been a step backwards by the Police Headquarters, so much so that today this practice is suspended”. A suspension that will be verified once the Covid emergency is over, which has necessarily extended the time of bureaucracy. And yet a small consolation for those who try to leave the suffering of the Balkan route behind and reach the Italian border.
According to updated data, after the 2020 contraction, the migratory flow is slowly returning to what it was before. The most consistent arrivals concern citizens Pakistanis e afghani. “A reality now stabilized, with constant numbers that in recent years have never fluctuated more than ten percent”, he explains to ilfattoquotidiano.it the prefect of Trieste, Valerio Valenti, which considers the forces assigned to the territory to be adequate. Yet precisely in 2020, with arrivals down compared to the 2500 registered in 2019, Italy exponentially increases the number of migrants readmitted to Slovenia after being tracked down by the Italian police.
No, they are not called pushbacks, because people are handed over into the hands of another country that agrees to reintroduce them within its own borders. But by the same admission of our Ministry of the Interior it is also about informal readmissions, i.e. without registration and independent of the intention of the persons to seek protection in Italy, a will that must always be verified by applying the criteria established by Dublin III Regulation.
So this particular border becomes a test bed for the entire Union, on which the already disputed Pact for migration proposed by European Commission to overcome Dublin he has to deal with a much more concrete and less cumbersome tool than Community law: a bilateral agreement between neighboring countries. That signed between Italy and Slovenia in 1996 it provides for the possibility of readmissions. “An instrument to be taken into consideration, consistent with national and European law”, comments the prefect. “It’s true, European law recognizes the possibility of enforcing bilateral readmission agreements, but within certain limits and not to the detriment of people’s rights, starting with that of being informed and the need for everything to be written down”, he explains the lawyer Anna Brambilla. That launches an accusation: “More and more states agree to achieve objectives in front of which EU rules are considered to be too secure”.
But the question of readmissions should not be read only as a point of law. What the agreement between Italy and Slovenia is not required to consider is the existence of another agreement, the one between Slovenes and Croats. To say that those on the Italian border trigger other readmissions, which in a chain reach as far as Serbia or Bosnia, are not only direct witnesses, but also the numbers. Of the 1300 people that Italy delivered to Slovenia in 2020, 1116 were entrusted to Croatia in the same year. Informal readmissions result temporarily suspended, perhaps following the complaints of many associations they have instructed journalistic inquiries and parliamentary questions, bringing to the attention of public opinion the dramatic conditions of migrants along the Balkan route and the violence inflicted above all by the Croatian police. An ordeal that has already made many victims and nevertheless has been literally canceled out for many, including those returned to the Slovenes. The future is more than uncertain. Prefect Valenti hopes that the agreements between the police forces of the two countries are implemented neighbors, such as those on joint patrols. “It is precisely through collaboration that procedures and respect for the rights of all are improved”, he argues, hoping for what others fear. “That is the direction, I believe we will go towards a strengthening of collaboration and practices such as joint patrols by border police, which however they do not make border immigration management more transparent”, The lawyer Brambilla is convinced. So in Trieste the real frontier to reach are the train platforms. The time to rest, to be treated for the feet slaughtered by the kilometers by the volunteers who guard the station square. Then we hurry to get back on the road, to leave an area where we have experimented an alleviation of rights, and where the overcoming of Dublin promised by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen it already seems to have been done.