Maltese MEPs call for responsibility sharing over migration

Miriam Dalli, Roberta Metsola and Marlene Mizzi address European Parliament: discussion should focus on distribution key; Member States must agree to share responsibility

European Parliament President Martin Schulz
European Parliament President Martin Schulz

Maltese MEPs Miriam Dalli (PL), Marlene Mizzi (PL) and Roberta Metsola (PN) urged member states to agree on responsibility sharing.

The European Parliament today discussed European Commission plans to tackle the large numbers of migrants seeking to reach the European Union, often risking their lives at sea.

Commission vice president Frans Timmermans and Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos announced a number of measures, including an emergency mechanism for relocating migrants, a resettlement scheme to take in migrants from countries outside the EU and more funds for securing borders.

Addressing the plenary, Dalli said a number of member states allowed a number of frontline countries such as Malta, Italy and Greece to shoulder the burden while the rest opposed quotas and resettlement schemes.

“The discussion shouldn’t be on whether the process should take place or not; it should be about the distribution key,” she said.

Dalli went on to urge the European Commission to review the Dublin regulations.

Metsola said that if member states agreed on military action, then there is no excuse for them not to agree on the fair sharing of responsibility too.

Metsola, who is leading the European Parliament negotiations on migration, welcomed in particular the proposal for the fair relocation and distribution mechanism among all Member States of beneficiaries of international protection.

She argued that the military naval operation should not "detract from the very real humanitarian and human crisis that migration in the Mediterranean has become. Any operation must go hand in hand with other measures to ensure that we have an all-encompassing approach to the issue".

Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi pointed out that, regardless of the thousands who perished at sea and thousands others waiting to cross, there is still opposition coming from some Member States, which will do everything to prevent the introduction of a fair quota system.

On a long-term solution, Mizzi said that the only way forward was to give migrants a future in their own country through investment in the economy, health and education: "Only then will the haemorrhage of those seeking a better future in Europe be solved."

Mizzi said that she was glad to see that there is finally a general consensus among MEPs from different political groups calling for exactly the same things that she has been repeating since the previous legislature. "We need to stop using slogans and buzz words, we need action. This is a European problem, NOT the problem of Malta or Italy. We need solution on a European level with mandatory burden sharing and a revision of the Dublin Regulation."

 "Solidarity means that everyone pulls the same rope, but in order to do that we need a political will and the full backing of all Member States to implement the Commission's strategy and make it an operational tool that will reflect the enormity of the global refugee's crisis," she said.


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