Ministers to discuss relocation plan for migrants rescue by NGOs in Malta meeting

Ministers to meet in Malta over migrant landings and humanitarian ships

Italy and Malta presented a joint document regarding the issue of migrant landings to European officials. France and Germany has also presented a document of their own on humanitarian ships.
Italy and Malta presented a joint document regarding the issue of migrant landings to European officials. France and Germany has also presented a document of their own on humanitarian ships.

A grouping of Europe’s ministers will be meeting in Malta to discuss a joint document on migrant landings, hosted by home affairs minister Michael Farrugia.

Ministers in charge of migration from Italy, German, France, Finland, which holds the EU presidency, and the European Commission, will be present for the meeting.

Negotiations began last July in Helsinki at a meeting that included 29 interior ministers, one of which was Italy’s former interior minister, Matteo Salvini.

Italy and Malta presented a joint document regarding the issue of migrant landings to European officials. France and Germany has also presented a document of their own on humanitarian ships.

A joint document is expected to be signed on 23 September in Malta with the ministers agreeing on a ‘Predictive Temporary Allocation Programme’. The agreement is expected to manage migrant landings and relocate them more efficiently and effectively.

The draft agreement states that when the next French or German humanitarian ship makes a rescue at the Mediterranean sea, Italy and Malta will allow the migrants to land in the nearest available safe harbour.

After this first reception in European territory, France and Germany will have a month to welcome them in their own countries. However, the exact number or percentage of migrants to be received by Paris and Berlin is still under negotiation because the French and German governments have pledged to only take 25 percent of the migrant landings, while Italy and Malta have requested they take care of all of them.

Following a discussion between the four ministers involved in Helsinki, it was decided that this should be followed by a number of technical meetings between experts from the four countries to come up with one final document. So far, discussions at technical level are still ongoing.

Italy and Malta both stated that they will not welcome any economic refugees given that the first month of reception is enough of a logistical and financial commitment.

Matteo Salvini, Italy’s former home affairs minister, refused to concede more, and with the draft almost ready to be signed, La Stampa reports that it is unlikely that Italy’s new interior minister, Luciana Lamorgese, will offer any additional concessions.

Conte said earlier this week that the migration phenomenon must be managed at European level. “We must work as soon as possible to change the Dublin regulation,” he said, referring to the law that regulates first-entry migrants on the European borders.

Europe has been locked in a tug-of-war between governments and humanitarian ships at sea, with countries like Italy and Malta preventing the departure and landing of NGO ships rescuing migrants at sea close to the Libyan search and rescue zones.

More in Europe