French senator in Malta calls for Dublin Convention revision

French Green senator says that asylum seekers should be offered the possibility of mobility within EU countries

Ango Ela Kalliopi
Ango Ela Kalliopi

Alternattiva Demokratika hosted French Green senator Ango Ela Kalliopi in a call for the EU to revise the Dublin convention, which places added stress on border nations handling the migration influx into Europe.

"The increasing migrant tragedies in the Mediterranean demand that Europe truly implements policies for the prevention of such deaths by developing measures of legal migration and by issuing temporary humanitarian visas in order to afford the necessary protection to such vulnerable people," Senator Kalliopi said.

"Moreover, we French, Maltese and European greens demand that asylum seekers should be offered the possibility of mobility within EU countries through the drastic revision of the present Dublin convention rules."

Cassola said that the European Greens were presenting a united front in their demand to overhaul the Dublin rules in such a way as to allow asylum seekers free movement in the EU, once an application for asylum has been made on Maltese territory.

"Asylum seekers and the normal citizens are to be treated with dignity and respect. Free movement in the EU should be made available to all law abiding people, independent of their economic means," Cassola said.

He argued that the Individual Investor Prorgamme established by the Maltese government, where only millionaires were seen "to have talent, are individuals of high caliber" and are of high value was "absolute rubbish."

 The European greens are also requesting a law that gives temporary protection to irregular migrants. One of the main problems that migrants have to face is that it is very hard for them to obtain humanitarian visas. 

Cassola mentioned a case that made headlines, where a rescued father was taken to Lampedusa whilst his wife was taken to Malta. "There were a lot of difficulties to reunite them together, since they had to humanitarian visa. The Dublin convention is a catastrophe as it is, because it creates inequalities among the EU countries themselves. Southern countries like Malta are overwhelmed by this problem because they have to tackle it alone," Cassola reiterated. 

"A bigger problem is that when you get to the place, you're stuck there. For instance, who is saved and ends up in Malta, should have the possibility to apply and freely move around the EU."

He encouraged the EP's two largest groups, the EPP and S&D groups, to join the European Greens in the Dublin convention amendments.

Cassola said the process of detention remained very bureaucratic and unfair. "18 months are a lot. Six months are more than sufficient and only in certain extreme cases. Pregnant women and young individuals should not be seen as hypothetical criminals."

Kalliopi also said that the citizenship scheme put forward by the Maltese government was unjust. 

"This scheme very surprising. Citizenship is something we cannot buy. You have to 'feel' your nationality, you certainly cannot buy citizenship. Ties are important.  I insist that this scheme has to be reviewed. Everybody can make mistakes and hence they have to be corrected."

Kalliopi is a Senator for French nationals overseas. 600 French people are registered and living in Malta, and they have the choice of voting for the French MEPs by postal vote or vote in Malta. However, to vote locally, they have to register by the end of March.

Kallipoli, forms part of the 12 Green senators in France, who although a small number, they are very dynamic. Kallipoli submitted various Parliamentary Questions to the French government regarding migration. "Europe has to take serious action as regards to the tragedies surrounding Lampedusa. To date, around 25,000 people died while trying to get a better life. This is a disgrace."

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Something which we people down here have been saying all along!