Irregular migration | EC must offer concrete solutions

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    Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

    Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, each country is taking measures to safeguard their borders. Europe’s southern countries alone cannot manage the crisis, let alone a densely populated country with oversaturated capacities like Malta.

    I insist that Malta cannot and should not be left alone, especially in this time of crisis.  I requested a meeting with Commissioner Johansson due to the migration situation in the Mediterranean and after a Commission spokesperson declared that it was up to Malta and Italy to decide where irregular migrants trafficked from Libya should disembark.

    I insist that whilst the European Commission says that it can coordinate relocation, the reality is that very few migrants were actually relocated to different EU Member States.

    Malta has long been explaining that the resources and land space are what they are. Malta always acted responsibly, but this responsibility cannot be shouldered by Malta or a few countries.

    On Monday afternoon, the European Commissioner for Migration Ylva Johansson and myself,  discussed at length the situation in the Central Mediterranean route and particular emphasis was placed on the situation in Libya. Commissioner Johansson said that the situation in Libya was high on the agenda and referred to a number of discussions held with the Maltese authorities. Acknowledging the dire situation, Commissioner Johansson said that today’s meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council will discuss the situation in Libya.

    With Member States expressing unwillingness to relocate irregular migrants, Commissioner Johansson said the Commission was also working on providing funds to address migratory routes from Libya. Commissioner Johansson added that the new Migration Pact could provide the necessary “political momentum” required to bring Member States back to the table.

    I asked for the intervention of the European Commission when it comes to the return of people who are not entitled to protection and whose country of origin makes their return difficult. The European Commissioner said that the EU will make full use of available political tools to obtain the much-needed cooperation from third countries, so that returns occur swiftly and efficiently.

    I also asked the European Commission to take a proactive role in fighting smugglers in Libya. Commissioner Ylva Johansson said that in this regard, the European Commission will continue working on an EU action plan on fighting human smuggling.

    Miriam Dalli is the Head of Labour MEP Delegation