The leaders of four Mediterranean nations who are the most affected by illegal immigration sent a joint memorandum regarding the European Union’s new migration rulebook to the EU on Wednesday.
The nations of Greece, Italy, Spain and Malta together signed the letter, which encapsulates their positions on the EU’s new “Pact on Migration and Asylum,” and sent it on to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is the chair of the European Council.
The letter was also sent to Charles Michel, the European Council President, as well as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
In the memorandum, Prime Ministers Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Giuseppe Conte, Pedro Sanchez and Robert Abela stated for the record that in addition to introducing rules governing the obligations of nations where the migrants first land or cross the border, the EU must also be responsible for the creation of measures which ensure there is much more sharing of the tremendous burden these migrants represent for the countries.
The Mediterranean nations are usually the recipients of the majority of today’s illegal immigration, both from the sea and over land, from Africa and the Middle East — many times through Turkey.
At the same time, the leaders stated that effective border control and migrant management measures must not lead to the formation of enclosed migrant centers in Europe. They also stressed that there should be a more effective way in which migrants who are not eligible to be granted asylum can be returned to their nation of origin.
EU says current system “No longer works”
Back in September, when the EU proposed the Pact, it acknowledged in a statement: “The current system no longer works,” adding that “for the past five years, the EU has not been able to fix it.
“The EU must overcome the current stalemate and rise up to the task. With the new Pact on Migration and Asylum, the Commission proposes common European solutions to a European challenge. The EU must move away from ad-hoc solutions and put in place a predictable and reliable migration management system.”
Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, also said in September “Moria is a stark reminder that the clock has run out on how long we can live in a house half-built. The time has come to rally around a common, European migration policy.
“The Pact provides the missing pieces of the puzzle for a comprehensive approach to migration. No one Member State experiences migration in the same way and the different and unique challenges faced by all deserve to be recognised, acknowledged and addressed.”
The first pillar of the Commission’s approach to building confidence consists of more efficient and faster procedures, according to the EU statement. The second pillar at the core of the Pact is fair sharing of responsibility and solidarity.
The EU stated that the package will also seek to boost a common EU system for returns, to make its migration rules more credible. This will include a more effective legal framework, a stronger role of the European Border and Coast Guard, and a newly appointed EU Return Coordinator with a network of national representatives to ensure consistency across the EU.
It will also propose a common governance for migration with better strategic planning to ensure that EU and national policies are aligned, and enhanced monitoring of migration management on the ground to enhance mutual trust.
The management of external borders will be improved as well, according to the September statement on the Pact. The European Border and Coast Guard standing corps, scheduled for deployment from January 1, 2021, will provide increased support wherever it is needed.