The Malta Independent 7 December 2019, Saturday

Roberta Metsola’s EU border law takes effect

Thursday, 14 November 2019, 08:29 Last update: about 22 days ago

The new law guaranteeing 10,000 new border guards at Europe’s external borders, and that will improve the return of irregular migrants, drafted and negotiated by Maltese Member of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, has been signed into European law today in a ceremony in the European Parliament.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Roberta Metsola the Partit Nazzjonalista Head of Delegation said “I am so proud to be standing here, fulfilling a promise I made before the European Parliament elections to the people of Malta and Gozo. Throughout the process our guiding principle has been to be fair with those in need of protection, firm with those who are not eligible and harsh with those who seek to exploit the most vulnerable people on the planet. This law does that.”

MEP Metsola said, “This new law would mean that, against all odds, we are over the final hurdle to having a new force of 10,000 border guards and operational staff in place in the next years. These are the numbers we need to secure our borders, boost the fight against cross border crime, ensure the protection of fundamental rights and help manage migration.”

MEP Metsola, who has been a leading voice on migration and security in the European Parliament, added, “Securing our external borders and ensuring that Member States fulfil their responsibilities is an absolutely critical piece of addressing the migration puzzle. It is not a standalone solution but it is a necessary step that must be taken hand-in-hand with others. Now, in the eventuality of a crisis situation similar to what we saw in 2015, nations on the external borders, including countries like Malta and Gozo, can request the deployment of the rapid intervention force to help deal with the situation.”

“It is not only the new standing corps of 10,000 additional people, this regulation means that crucially the effectiveness of our return operations for those people who are not eligible for protection will improve dramatically. This new agency will now be able to help Member States in the identification of irregular migrants and help in the assessment and procurement of travel documents and help in their return to their countries of origin,” Metsola added.

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