If need be, Dublin rule changes should be made without unanimity

We need to look seriously into having EU-run and EU-funded disembarkation locations in safe third countries outside the union, with EU standards and safeguards

The Nationalist Party has been clear in pushing forward holistic, European, approaches to migration challenges
The Nationalist Party has been clear in pushing forward holistic, European, approaches to migration challenges

It is difficult not to be angry, when we find ourselves in another summer facing a situation that we warned would come.

It is difficult not to be angry when we know that the EU can introduce laws on plastics and litter and end roaming, but on migration the European Council remains stuck.

The Nationalist Party has been clear in pushing forward holistic, European, approaches to migration challenges.

Adrian Delia has proposed having a strategy based on human dignity and human rights, with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) having a role in overseeing EU-funded locations outside of Europe while tackling the inherent poverty in many nations in Africa.

Immigration and asylum are not issues that Malta, Italy, Greece or Spain should be left alone to deal with. They are fundamentally European in nature and countries not in the Mediterranean cannot continue trying to use geography as an excuse to exonerate themselves from responsibility.

The message to EU prime ministers from the European Parliament is clear: it is time for action on migration. At this month’s summit, prime ministers have a unique opportunity to finally reform the EU’s Dublin system. The European Parliament has put legislation on their table that ensures a fair sharing of responsibility based on solidarity between States and with the most vulnerable. It can be done, even without unanimity in the EU Council. 

However, that is the first step. In the medium term, we need to look seriously into having EU-run and EU-funded disembarkation locations in safe third countries outside the union, with EU standards and safeguards, where anyone saved from the sea can be disembarked immediately, rescued, security vetted and processed.

This must be done in full recognition of migrants’ rights by an EU agency like EASO and migrants not in need of protection will be returned, while others will be resettled.

We can couple this with processes to apply for asylum even outside the EU territory. That way we create a system that allows for people who need protection to have a legal route to Europe without the need to succumb to traffickers and risk their lives on rickety boats while drawing necessary distinctions between those people fleeing famine and war and those people seeking a job.

It is not a system that is uncontroversial or some sort of magic silver bullet but it could go a long way and I hope we see a sign from prime ministers on this too.

For the longer term we need to ensure we move from a system of aid to a system of investment in Africa fuelling jobs and growth.

Europe can be the example to everyone on this issue but we have to see real political will to move away from fiery rhetoric to taking tough decisions. The ball is in the prime ministers’ court now.

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