First group to be transferred to Sweden


Ciampino Airport, October 9 — The first group of asylum seekers to be transferred from Italy as part of the European Commission’s redistribution plan departed on Friday, when a finance police aeroplane carrying 19 Eritrean refugees took off from Rome’s Ciampino Airport heading for Sweden. The group, which included five women, arrived on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa a few days ago. «The flight that has just taken off is a symbol of victory, the victory of Europe that can show solidarity and be responsibility and it’s defeat for those like (Northern League leader Matteo) Salvini, who bet everything against Italy and against Europe,» Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said after seeing off the refugees along with European Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

The EU has agreed to redistribute some 160,000 asylum seekers, mostly from Italy and Greece, which are the first countries of entry for the majority of migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean in search of safety and a better life in Europe.

«Over the next few weeks Italy is ready to transfer another 100 asylum seekers to Germany, the Netherlands and other countries that have said they are willing to receive them,» Alfano said. «Over 40,000 will go in two years». Michele, a 26-year-old who was among the group of refugees, said that he was «seeking peace and serenity, what it I didn’t have in Eritrea».