The Malta Independent 26 May 2019, Sunday

Metsola’s external borders law gets strong final approval from Parliament

Wednesday, 17 April 2019, 17:31 Last update: about 2 months ago

The law protecting the external borders of the European Union, piloted and negotiated by PN MEP Roberta Metsola, can now be implemented after getting a strong and final approval from the European Parliament.

It was approved with 403 votes in favour, 162 against and 44 abstentions.

The negotiations on this law were done in a record time of six months, with the MEP working round the clock for the new measures should become law before the European elections in May, the EPP said.

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“It was no easy task to convince other political groups and the EU Governments to stop their rhetoric on immigration and security, and get down to business. Nevertheless, we convinced, and we managed. When I was tasked with drafting a new European Border and Coast Guard law, no one thought we would be here today less than six months later with a deal on the table,” Metsola said.

The new ‘Metsola law’ will see the addition of 10,000 European border and coast guards who will assist Member States on a number of issues, namely in times of migration crisis, in tackling cross-border crime as well as to improve and make more efficient the process of returns with new European fundamental right safeguards. Governments, including the Maltese Government, have already preliminarily approved the law earlier last month.

“I wanted a law which is fair with those in need of protection, firm with those who do not, and harsh with those who seek to exploit the most vulnerable. We can only address security and the challenges of migration if we keep this principle in mind,” Metsola said.

Concluding her work as a Rapporteur of this new law, Metsola said: “Since I was elected as a representative of the Maltese and the Gozitan people in the European Parliament, I kept close contact with the citizens, meeting them every week. And with every individual I met - be they parents, students, pensioners, or entrepreneurs - security was always a huge concern, and I had to do something about it. This law is my, the EPP Group’s and the European Parliament’s reply to such concern.”

This law will transform the way the EU’s agency’s deal with migration phenomena including ensuring 10,000 new border guards and staff; boosting the fight against crime; protecting fundamental rights and aiding the efficient, safe return of those who are not eligible for protection.

“This is a proud moment for me coming from Malta and Gozo - but it is a proud moment for Europe. Citizens asked and we delivered - in record time,” concluded Metsola.

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