Malta unhappy at exclusion of ‘mutual recognition’ from Council conclusions

EU leaders commit themselves to ‘principle of solidarity’ once again • Italy, Malta unhappy over exclusion of ‘mutual recognition’ in wording of European Council draft conclusions

Photo: John Pisani
Photo: John Pisani

The EU’s leaders will once again try and commit themselves to effectively implement the principle of solidarity and the fair sharing of responsibility for migrants at the borders.

But much to the dismay of Italy, and Malta, the draft conclusions of the European Council today have excluded the mutual recognition of asylum decisions. According to ANSA, Italy had heavily lobbied for EU leaders to commit themselves to recognise mutual recognition as “new future steps” for the EU member states to commit themselves to.

ANSA reported that northern member states had succeeded in having mutual recognition placed as “a possibility to explore”.

Malta has however welcomed and expressed satisfaction over wording in the conclusions pledging the “effective implementation of the principle of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility”.

“Malta has pushed to see the principle of fair sharing in the wording and it is there. The commitment is now there,” sources in Brussels said.

Countries on Europe’s external borders hope that the EU’s future step will include mutual recognition.

The Council conclusions will also be making reference to enforcing the admission obligations in agreement with third countries.

Italy used this summit to ask the EU to take charge of its life-saving operation to rescue migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean Sea.

With its operation Mare Nostrum, Italy, with Malta’s military support, has saved about 40,000 people. Although the conclusion does not effectively say that FRONTEX will be taking over the Italian operations, EU leaders have expressed their agreement to see Frontex used to support member states on the external border facing strong pressure.

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