di organismi ed associazioni di ispirazione religiosa attivi nel campo delle migrazioni





Caritas Italiana

Comunità di S. Egidio


Federazione delle Chiese Evangeliche in Italia

Fondazione Migrantes della CEI

Gruppo Martin Buber - Ebrei per la pace

Jesuit Refugee Service


To the kind attention of

Rome, 27 september 1999 On. Romano Prodi

Presidente Commissione Europea, Bruxelles

Dott. Antonio Vitorino

Commissario Commissione Giustizia

Affari Interni

Ambasciatore Luigi G.B. Cavalchini

Rappresentante italiano a Bruxelles

Min. Giuseppe Lo Jacono

Rappresentanza Permanente d'Italia

presso l'Unione Europea, Bruxelles

Dott. Alessandro Busacca

Rappresentanza Permanente d'Italia

presso l'Unione Europea,Bruxelles

On. Massimo D’Alema

Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri

On. Rosa Russo Jervolino

Ministro dell’Interno

On. Lamberto Dini

Ministro Affari Esteri

On. Livia Turco

Ministro per la Solidarietà Sociale

Dott. Enrico Letta

Ministro per le Politiche Comunitarie

On. Rocco Cangelosi

Ministro Plenipotenziario con Funzioni di

Coordinamento Comunitario DGAE

On. Patrizia Toia

Sottosegretario Ministero degli Affari Esteri

Dott. Rino Serri

Sottosegretario Ministero

degli Affari Esteri

Dott. Alberto Maritati

Sottosegretario di Stato

Ministero dell'Interno

On. Giannicola Sinisi

Sottosegretario Ministero dell’Interno

On. Fabio Evangelisti

Presidente del Comitato

Parlamentare Schengen

On. Rosario Olivo

On. Domenico Maselli

On. Valdo Spini

On. Giorgio Gardiol

On. Lino De Benetti

On. Rinaldo Buontempi


In the light of the special European Council to be held at Tampere in October, the associations who are signatories to this document and who have been actively involved in the field of immigration and asylum, wish to draw the attention of Italian and European Institutions to the points listed below. They are urgent as the sectors dealing with asylum, immigration and policies governing free circulation are to be transferred from the first to the third pillar of the European Union, as established in the Treaty of Amsterdam.

This transfer could mean definite progress in the way in which the vital issues of asylum and immigration are dealt with, as up to now they have been the responsibility of member states. However, to make progress it is necessary that Europe reaches a high profile harmonisation on the policy and procedures in force in these sectors.

In particular the question of the right to asylum must be examined keeping in mind the need to protect fundamental human rights, rather than social-economic convenience.

As far as immigration is concerned, the realisation of a policy on the one hand contrary to illegal entry and on the other for the integration of legal immigrants must be based on a definition of the ways in which legal immigration can be achieved by those who migrate for a long term (for work, family, study etc) to one of the countries of the European Union.

The points which follow aim to underline the most critical and the weakest aspects of recent thinking on these issues, which have resulted in soft laws or preparatory bills within the European Institutions

Asylum policies

1. It is necessary to find an agreement within the European Union on a definition of "refugee". This definition must be based on a full and wide interpretation of the one contained in the 1951 Geneva Convention. In particular it must include those who run a serious risk of persecution, irrespective of the fact that the perpetrator of the persecution is the state or if the state tolerates it.

2. If there are waves of mass migration caused by a situation of generalised violence, which makes the examination of single applications out of the question, it is necessary to adopt measures guaranteeing temporary protection. These measures should not be detrimental to the interests of those, among the beneficiaries, who would be fully covered by the definition of refugees in the understanding of the 1951 Geneva Convention. It is essential to apply standards of suitable treatment and allow, at the end of the period of application, an application on an individual basis.

3. In the case of mass waves of migrants, as well as temporary protection measures , there should also be additional forms of protection on an individual basis for those who, while not covered by the definition of refugee, flee from a situation of generalised violence and are unable to return safely to their own country. It is necessary to agree on these measures, so that the degree of protection given to the asylum seekers is irrespective of the state which has the responsibility of examining the application.

4. If the existence of another country which is signatory to the Geneva Convention and in which the asylum seeker has spent a fair amount of time without applying for asylum, is to be considered the reason for not accepting this same application, it is necessary to take into consideration the real willingness of that country to readmit the asylum seeker to its territory, guaranteeing safety, to examine the application for asylum and to protect it from the risk of refoulement. It is essential also to check whether the asylum seeker has the right to benefit within the European Union from additional forms of protection, not guaranteed in the country in question.

5. It is absolutely essential that applying sanctions or fines on anyone who transports foreigners without the necessary documents to the outer borders of the European Union, doesn’t condition the right to asylum. In fact, without making adequate exceptions to these measures in the case of foreigners who apply for asylum (irrespective of whether or not their applications are deemed admissible), the carrier would refuse to transport those people in need of protection that do not possess -for example- travel documents (even though the possession of these documents is not in fact a necessary requirement for entry for an asylum seeker). At best, in order to reach a country willing to provide protection, these people would end up resorting to alternative means of entry, which would be both expensive and illegal.


Immigration Policies

1.Generally speaking, certain norms which are part of the legislation of some of the member countries of the Union, like Austria, Spain and Italy, could be adopted. These norms make it possible to create channels for legal immigration by periodically establishing quotas. In order to be a deterrent to illegal immigration, it is necessary to take into consideration not only the needs of the reception country, but also the size of the migratory pressure on the borders of the European Union.


2. In order to enter as an employee (also for seasonal labour), it should not be necessary to have a prior request from an employer. A similar requirement makes it in fact impossible to establish a working relationship between a worker and a prospective employer, which is essential in these type of activities. It also makes legal immigration possible only for those who are highly qualified. Within the limits of the capacity of the European work market to absorb labour, the entry of workers in search of work should be allowed. Selection should be based on known and establish criteria.

3. As well as entry with the purpose of carrying out autonomous work of an entrepreneurial nature, which would have a beneficial effect on employment within the European Union, it is necessary to further the entry of migrants in the service industry. Migrants are mostly employed in jobs with few prospects which require few qualifications. However, with the progressive reorganisation of the labour market, they make an important contribution to the European Union’s economic development

4. It is necessary to further the long term stay of migrants who show they wish to maintain their legal status. This would make it possible to avoid overloading the conditions for renewal or conversion of residency permits. In particular, the prolonging of residency permits for reasons other than those which gave the original authorisation, should not be hindered, provided that the immigrant is in possession of the necessary requirements which correspond to the new reason for their stay. The rule which requires migrants to return to their home country in order to receive permission is in fact an incentive to illegally prolonging their stay .

5.The cost of countering the criminal exploitation of illegal immigration must be shared out among all member states of the Union and special backing should be given to those countries which for geographical reasons are more exposed to illegal migration

Signed by:





Caritas Italiana

Comunità di S. Egidio


Federazione delle Chiese Evangeliche in Italia

Fondazione Migrantes della CEI

Jesuit Refugee Service





Supported by:


Caritas - Torino

Ufficio Migrazioni Diocesi - Trapani

Comitato Comunale per l’emigrazione e l’immigrazione - Trapani

Fredo Olivero — Caritas Torino

Centro Servizi per Stranieri, Acli - Caritas - Triste





Segreteria di coordinamento:

Via Firenze 38 - 00184 Roma - tel. 06 48905101 - fax 06 48916959 - E -mail: