The Malta Independent 18 September 2021, Saturday

Malta well on track to meet relocation commitments from Italy and Greece

Kevin Schembri Orland Monday, 13 February 2017, 08:47 Last update: about 6 years ago
Malta is well on track to meeting its commitments regarding the relocation of refugees from Italy and Greece, according to the ninth progress report on the EU's emergency relocation and resettlement schemes, assessing actions taken since 8 December 2016. The Ninth Report on Relocation and Resettlement provides an updated state of play since the last report of 8 December and assesses the actions undertaken by all relevant stakeholders from 8 December 2016 until 7 February 2017. The background on the situation as written in an EU Commission statement, read that "the temporary emergency relocation scheme was established in two Council Decisions in September 2015, in which Member States committed to relocate persons in need of international protection from Italy and Greece. The relocation decisions concern the commitment by EU states to relocate 98,255 people, after the Council adopted an amendment to the 2nd Council Decision on relocation on 29 September 2016 to make 54,000 places not yet allocated available for the purpose of legally admitting Syrians from Turkey to the EU. The EU Turkey Statement of 18 March 2016 provides that for every Syrian being returned from Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled from Turkey to the EU. This principle applies as of 4 April 2016. Priority is given to migrants who have not previously entered or tried to enter the EU irregularly." The report explains that against the target of 2,000 monthly relocations by the EU states, 1,162 people were relocated from Greece in December 2016 and 1,131 people in January 2017 by the member states. In addition "there were 1,178 pledges in December and 1,550 in January 2017. Achieving the target is possible provided all Member States pledge and transfer on a stable monthly basis and according to the size of their allocation. In particular, achieving the 2,000 target would require that those Member States that have not relocated anyone or only a limited number (Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Austria, Poland and Slovakia) start doing so immediately. In addition, it would require Belgium and Spain to pledge on a monthly basis according to the size of their allocation and Portugal, Romania and Lithuania to start pledging again on a monthly basis." "However it should also be acknowledged that Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta and Finland are well on track to meet their obligations. Furthermore, at the present rate, Switzerland and Norway will fully complete their relocation commitments by March 2017. Other Member States that only recently started relocating from Greece have further to go to catch-up with more performing Member States and Associated Countries." "During the reporting period, Member States have continued to increase their efforts on resettlement offering legal and safe pathways to 13,968 people so far. Member States have continued to provide safe and legal avenues to Europe for people in need of international protection with 13,968 of the agreed 22,504 resettled so far under the EU resettlement scheme from July 2015.  Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "The past months have seen progress on both relocation and resettlement. But for our efforts to match the scale of the challenge in both the EU frontline Member States as well as our neighbourhood, more needs to be done, and faster. Relocating all those eligible in Italy and Greece is possible but it takes political will, commitment and perseverance of all Member States to make it happen." The report states, with regards to Italy, that due to the constant influx of new migrants, including from Eritrea, the number of applicants for relocation, based on information from the Italian Ministry of the Interior, remained stable between 5,300 and 5,800 Eritreans. Malta is one of Seven countries who are "fully engaged in relocation from Italy," and is also on track to meet its obligations. As at 7 February this year, Malta effectively relocated 46 refugees from Italy. Malta has also effectively relocated 34 refugees from Greece.  
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