Swiss and Italian police agree to cooperate

Swiss justice minister Simonetta Sommaruga and Italian interior minister Angelino Alfano on Oct. 14, 2013, sign an customs police accord Keystone

Swiss and Italian authorities have signed a pact to more effectively combat cross-border crime. In the light of the latest deadly migrant boat accidents, the countries also said on Monday they were willing to cooperate to improve help for refugees.

This content was published on October 15, 2013 - 09:51

On Friday at least 30 people drowned after a boat capsized in Maltese waters, and another 12 migrants died in a shipwreck off the Egyptian coast. Just eight days earlier, at least 300 Eritreans died when their boat sank within sight of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

During talks in Rome, Swiss justice minister Simonetta Sommaruga and Italian interior minister Angelino Alfano stressed that they were ready to expand the exchange of experts and work out joint solutions within the Schengen framework to better protect migrants.

The ministers also discussed cooperation within the framework of the Dublin accord that regulates which state is responsible for reviewing asylum applications. Italy is Switzerland’s most important partner in this area according to the justice ministry.

The revised police agreement signed on Monday includes measures allowing law enforcement authorities of both countries to fight organised crime. Switzerland has already entered similar cooperation agreements with other neighbouring states.

Under the new pact, the countries will for example be able to carry out joint patrols and the police and customs cooperation centre in Chiasso in the southern canton of Ticino will see its role as a hub for bilateral cooperation increased.

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