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Immigration: Italy and Macedonia sign protocol on repatriation procedures for irregular immigrants

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Paolo Gentiloni, has signed an agreement with his Macedonian opposite number, Nikola Poposki, which facilitates the repatriation of irregular immigrants. The protocol, drawn up in agreement with the two Home Affairs Ministries, regulates repatriation procedures for irregular immigrants from Macedonia or from third countries using Macedonia for transit.

“Today’s agreement with the Macedonian government can be set in a European framework that views repatriation agreements as a necessary instrument for the effective management of immigration flows”, observed Minister Gentiloni. “Such agreements have facilitated the rapid repatriation of irregular migrants”, concluded the Minister, “ and are, therefore, a crucial factor in the broader context of combating irregular immigration”.

The agreement was signed during the Annual Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Central European Initiative (CEI) Member States in Ohrid, a lakeside town in Macedonia. Attention focused on the European integration process for the western Balkan countries, regional interconnectivity and opportunities for economic development and growth. Another key topic was the CEI’s role as a bridge between Europe’s macro-regions, including with a view to the complete stabilisation of the area. In the margins of the meeting Minister Gentiloni met the Macedonian Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski.