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Plane carrying 19 Eritreans leaves Italy bound for Sweden under EU's redistribution plan

  • European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos, left, speaks to Eritrean refugees waiting to board an Italian Financial police aircraft which will take them to Sweden, at Rome's Ciampino airport, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. The aircraft, carrying 19 Eritreans, will bring the first refugees to Sweden under the European Union's new resettlement program aimed at redistributing asylum-seekers from hard-hit receiving countries. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

    European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos, left, speaks to Eritrean refugees waiting to board an Italian Financial police aircraft which will take them to Sweden, at Rome's Ciampino airport, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. The aircraft, carrying 19 Eritreans, will bring the first refugees to Sweden under the European Union's new resettlement program aimed at redistributing asylum-seekers from hard-hit receiving countries. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)  (The Associated Press)

  • An Eritrean refugee waves as he boards an Italian Financial police aircraft which will take him and other 18 refugees to Sweden, at Rome's Ciampino airport, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. The aircraft brings the first refugees to Sweden under the European Union's new resettlement program aimed at redistributing asylum-seekers from hard-hit receiving countries. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

    An Eritrean refugee waves as he boards an Italian Financial police aircraft which will take him and other 18 refugees to Sweden, at Rome's Ciampino airport, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. The aircraft brings the first refugees to Sweden under the European Union's new resettlement program aimed at redistributing asylum-seekers from hard-hit receiving countries. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)  (The Associated Press)

  • Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, left, and European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos accompany Eritrean refugees departing to Sweden aboard an Italian Financial police aircraft, at Rome's Ciampino airport, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. The aircraft, carrying 19 Eritreans, will bring the first refugees to Sweden under the European Union's new resettlement program aimed at redistributing asylum-seekers from hard-hit receiving countries. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

    Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, left, and European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos accompany Eritrean refugees departing to Sweden aboard an Italian Financial police aircraft, at Rome's Ciampino airport, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. The aircraft, carrying 19 Eritreans, will bring the first refugees to Sweden under the European Union's new resettlement program aimed at redistributing asylum-seekers from hard-hit receiving countries. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)  (The Associated Press)

An Italian police aircraft carrying 19 Eritreans has taken off from Rome's Ciampino airport bringing the first refugees to Sweden under the European Union's new resettlement program aimed at redistributing asylum-seekers from hard-hit receiving countries.

The aircraft carrying the refugees was bound for Kallax Airport in Lulea, in the far north of Sweden.

Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, who was on hand to bid the Eritreans farewell, has said the transfer is proof that Europe has finally changed its migration policy.

Italy for years has demanded Europe shoulder more of the burden of the continent's refugee crisis. Even though most migrants prefer to pass through Italy en route to destinations further north, Alfano has been keen to show off the first flight to try to quiet anti-immigrant critics at home.