The Malta Independent 18 April 2024, Thursday
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MED5 asking for ‘mandatory solidarity’ from EU to share the burden when dealing with migration

Marc Galdes Saturday, 4 March 2023, 15:41 Last update: about 2 years ago

MED5 members are asking for “mandatory solidarity” from all EU member states when dealing with migration, to ease the pressure the frontline EU member states in the Mediterranean sea face by sharing the burden.

In a joint declaration, which all MED5 members signed it said that solidarity should be “permanent and mandatory,” and this can be done through intra-EU relocations but also direct financial contributions.

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The MED5 summit took place on Saturday at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, where Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri greeted members from five southern states. Italian home affairs minister Matteo Piatendosi, Greek Migration minister Notis Mirarchi, Spanish Migration minister Fernando Grande Marklaska and Cypriot permanent Secretary Costas Constantinou were all at the summit.

Present was also the Swedish Home Minister, as the country is currently president of the Counvil of the European Union.

Following their discussion, when addressing the press, Camilleri opened his speech by recognising that, based on their geographical location, all the countries present face similar challenges with regard to migration.

He pointed out how between 2021 and 2022, there had been an increase in irregular migration, and now more needs to be done.

He said that the main message of the joint declaration is to prevent the trafficking of irregular migrants.

The joint statement that the countries all signed focuses on “efforts to prevent irregular migration, with a view to preventing the loss of life at sea, as well as the abuse of migrants by smugglers.”

The statement says that preventive measures can be applied by partnering with countries of origin and transit. It also called for a necessary level of funding for North Africa in 2024 and beyond, to continue supporting the fight against irregular migration.

The declaration added that there also needs to be better coordination and communication with third countries and address the root causes of migration. It said that more safe and legal pathway routes need to be promoted as a means to reduce irregular migration.

Camilleri spoke about the importance of EU member states striking a balance between solidarity and responsibility.

In the annexe, the MED5 council are pushing so that the outcome of the Pact negotiations reflects a fair balance between “solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility.”

In the statement, there was also a push towards solidarity and responsibility, where EU member states would strike a balance between solidarity and responsibility. With regard to solidarity, the statement is asking to include intra-EU relocation, to ease the pressure off the frontline member states in the Mediterranean sea, which currently bear “disproportionate pressures.”

The five countries are therefore asking that the Council step up efforts to implement a permanent and mandatory solidarity mechanism.

The summit also included the participation of the director of EU border Agency Frontex, as the five southern states wanted more support from Frontex. Camilleri said that the joint statement also asks for more continuous support from Frontex with regard to surveillance and offering member states intelligence.

The statement read that border surveillance, both of maritime and land borders, is essential to fight migrant smuggling. This is where the EU member states require Frontex’s support so that it can allocate more resources, including surveillance of international waters.

In addition, the statement also stated that EU member states need more support from EU funds in “reinforcing border protection capabilities and infrastructure, means of surveillance, and equipment.”

Moreover, Camilleri brought up how the declaration calls for a fair migration policy which can be achieved through repatriating asylum seekers who do qualify for asylum. He said that repatriation is one of the main pillars of just migration.

Camilleri was very insistent that MED5 did not want to promote a message which encouraged people to risk their lives by crossing the Mediterranean sea through smugglers.

With regard to border procedures, in the annex, the five countries are asking for more flexibility in the application of border procedures which should be based on the circumstances of a Member state. Also, depending on the cooperation of third countries, the member states should consider the prospect of repatriation.

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