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Effective solidarity cannot be flexible - Minister Carmelo Abela

Reference Number: PR162483, Press Release Issue Date: Nov 08, 2016
“Effective solidarity cannot be flexible. There is still a long way to go for the EU to have a common position on migration but we are determined to achieve as much progress as possible during our Presidency”. This was stated by Minister for Home Affairs and National Security, Carmelo Abela, during a meeting with the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos in Imdina. The meeting discussed the priorities of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union in relation to migration and asylum, an area which in their own words, has become very crucial for the future of the European Union itself.
Commissioner Avramopoulos also commented on the issue of solidarity and emphasised that it is time for EU Member States to really mean it when they talk about it. He said that the Maltese Presidency of the EU is one of the most crucial in the last 40 years. He reiterated the Commission’s support to work closely and assist Malta during its Presidency term, and pointed out that the country which in the words of the Commissioner has been dealing with the migratory phenomenon for long and has great experience in this area.
“Malta is an example of commitment, resilience and respect towards European values and laws. This is valid not just for migration but for all endeavours including border management and security points”, said Commissioner Avramopoulos.
Minister Carmelo Abela remarked that the Maltese Presidency will strive to achieve a compromise which is politically acceptable but also guarantees effective solidarity. He added that it will strive to make progress on the various aspects of migration and asylum in parallel; the Common European Asylum System, Border Control, returns and readmission as well as tackling migrant smuggling.
He also referred to the term “flexible solidarity” and stated that as a  policy alternative to the corrective allocation mechanism as set out by the Commission in the Dublin Proposal it can be open to different interpretations.  On the Dublin System reform Minister Abela stated that a system that can withstand future challenges should be created, where solidarity kicks in effectively and where responsibility is shared equitably.
In spite of Malta’s geographical position and the constant risk of an influx, Malta has been consistently contributing to the solidarity effort. “We plan to have received the majority of asylum seekers to be relocated from Italy and Greece by the end of this year and we have responded to EASO and FRONTEX calls”, stated Minister Abela.
Minister Abela said that Malta intends to give a Mediterranean dimension to the EU Presidency to bring to the fore the realities at the EU’s Southern border, which at the end of the day affect all members, giving due importance to the Central Mediterranean route and the route that is taking migrants from Egypt towards the centre of the Mediterranean.
Minister Abela thanked the European Commissioner for the constant support that he and the European Commissioner have been showing to Malta as it plans and prepares for its first ever Presidency of the Council of the European Union.