“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
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.