Irregular migration goes beyond EU solidarity - deputy PM

Home Affairs EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom in Malta to discuss ways to help and support nation

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom met with deputy PM Louis Grech
EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom met with deputy PM Louis Grech

Irregular migration goes beyond solidarity by the European Union and concrete action on this EU issue is paramount to show that the EU is not passive, deputy prime minister Louis Grech said today.

Meeting the EU's Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom at his office at Auberge d'Aragon, Grech acknowledged that Malmstrom's commitment towards migration was reflected in her work.

"Your continuous support to our call for shared responsibility was evident, although all of us would have preferred if we reached better results. Malta acknowledges your commitment towards migration, which is reflected in your work. Your visit, just a few days after the arrival of migrants to Malta, makes your visit more important," Grech told Malmstrom.

He added that the European Union should stop looking at the matter as one of solidarity with the member states most hit by irregular migration, but should acknowledge and respect the matter as "an EU affair".

"The EU should have taken more concrete action in the past 10 years. It is unfortunate that citizens perceive the EU as being passive, even if this is not always the case," the deputy PM said.

Applauding Malmstrom's office for the "meaningful progress" carried out in the setting up of a task force, 'Council conclusions on migration and the Common Asylum Policy', Grech pointed out that one would have expected that a common asylum system is adopted by all member states.

"There should be conformity and acceptance of the policy... Or else it is just going to be lip service. The European Parliament elections have already reflected protectionism by citizens, which is not good for the EU," Grech said, adding that the upheaval in Libya, Syria and Gaza made the issue more relevant.

Malmstrom, who later on will be visiting the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), admitted that the situation in the Mediterranean region and North African countries is a challenge for the global community.

"Indeed we are aware of Malta's problems and we are here to see how we can help and support you in facing the challenge that is migration," she said.

The meeting between the two delegations continued behind closed doors.