BRUSSELS. Immigration and security, two topics that after theBrussels attack of recent days redesigns the agenda and debate of the heads of state and government. The attack on 17 October a few steps from the center of the Belgian capital, which cost the lives of two Swedish tourists, led Sweden to ask that the conclusions of the European Council summit scheduled for Thursday and Friday (26 and 27 September) raise the issue of repatriations for those who are not entitled to international protection.
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Abdesalem Lassaued, the Tunisian asylum seeker responsible for the ambush and then intercepted by the police, was on Belgian soil despite the denial of his asylum request. This prompted the Belgian Minister for Justice, Vincent Van Quickenborne, to resign. But the event also had repercussions at EU level.
“The terrorist attack in Belgium has created concern”, recognize European diplomatic sources. «No one wants to create an equation whereby “migrants=terrorists”, but what happened in Belgium is a sign of what exists» at a European level, namely «very serious shortcomings in the management of asylum seekers». For this reason, Sweden requests the inclusion of a paragraph on repatriations in the final declarations and relaunches the debate on internal cooperation between countries as a topic not only of security but also as an element of the management of flows of asylum seekers on EU soil.
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The Swedish initiative does not encounter any particular opposition, the same sources assure. It is certainly well regarded by Italy, which focuses and insists on the so-called “external dimension” of migration policies. Reducing departures and therefore arrivals, together with return policies, are the two central elements of the Meloni government, which also finds a contribution from the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. In the letter addressed to the Twenty-Seven in view of the leaders’ summit starting tomorrow, the German offers herself available to help the member states to “pool resources and capabilities within a common European Union system for returns”. The repatriation issue, with police cooperation between countries, therefore takes on a renewed centrality in the never simple debate on immigration.