Malta's plea for burden sharing snubbed at Brussels summit

EU leaders failed to reach an agreement on an EU asylum system, despite calls from home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and a "passionate plea" from Malta to have more refugees from Libya shared by other member states.

A two day summit in Brussels, attended by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi ended this afternoon with EU leaders snubbing what was described as a "passionate plea" by Malta to have a burden sharing system accepted by European partners. Malta's call was backed by EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.

The EU leaders also rejected the proposal for a temporary exemption from the so-called Dublin regulation, which obliges member states to send back asylum seekers to the first EU country of entry, as proposed by the commission.

Instead they urgeed to "push forward rapidly" with work on so-called smart borders to keep track of all entries and exits of non-EU citizens and prevent visa overstay and allowing registered travellers to go through airport security by simply swiping their passports.

The decision to envisage re-introduction of internal borders in case of migratory pressure comes despite calls from human rights groups and commissioner Malmstrom herself to avoid going down that road.

"Solidarity, tolerance, and mutual respect between countries and people - I am saddened and concerned to see that these values risk losing respect and support around Europe," she said in a press statement ahead of the summit, warning of the risk of far-right parties rising and getting their agenda imposed in several countries.

"In my areas of responsibility – asylum, migration, integration, and border cooperation – I can see that xenophobia is on the rise. Developments this spring illustrate the situation quite clearly," she said.

The EU-27 agreed however to establish a "safeguard mechanism" allowing the re-introduction of internal borders in exceptional circumstances, potentially curbing one of the most integrative aspects of EU membership.

In the final text, a stronger evaluation of Schengen criteria is foreseen for all countries in the border-free area, but corruption is not mentioned.

"The future Schengen evaluation system will provide for the strengthening, adaptation and extension of the criteria (...) and should involve experts from the member states, the Commission and competent agencies," the conclusions read.

Without undermining this basic principle [of free movement of persons], we felt the need to improve the Schengen rules," European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said at a press conference at the end of the summit.

The mechanism would allow "as a very last resort, (...) the exceptional reintroduction of internal border controls in a truly critical situation where a member state is no longer able to comply with its obligations under the Schengen rules as concerns the prevention of illegal immigration of third country nationals, with negative effects on other member states," the final statement said.

The commission is supposed to work out the details of the arrangement by autumn.

European SOLIDARITY at its best. We helped all the World when the conflict, all we got was a thanks. We are very grateful bWeecuase with that thanks ALL our problems were solved. We are now going to help the Greecks, why not? Somtimes I wonder after we were told that by joining the Eu we will be better off. Was is the joke of the century or was it the joke of the trillenium? A good percentage of the Maltese can't even make ends meets but Mighty Malta is shouldering more than it can carry Flimkien kollox possibli. Viva Gonzi is-Salvatur taghna. Tant haqqu prosit illi missu jiehu €500 kulljum issa. Jew dawk li hadu ha juru is-solidarjeta ma dawk li tilfu hobzhom u dawk li qedin biex?
That all policians do. gather around table, meet, talk, have all kind of free food and drinks, and what do we - the average european citizen gets in return - A BIG NOTHING.
Enough begging Malta. PUt a plan in place where we do not accept anymore migrants, just save them and help them for a week and send them on to their final journey - which is Europe. Malta cannot afford to keep one more migrant on it's shores. We are already overflowing. TO think otherwise is suicidal for our people and national security and identity. What Europe is basically saying to Malta is - you are on your on. And no one, not even Angellina Joline, will be able to help us do anything to solve this illegal immigrant issue. WE in Malta had enough of this issue dominating our lives in most parts of the year. And now we are stuck with unwanted illegal migrants who are always grumbling and unhappy and they reap all knd of social services at the expense of the hardworking maltese citizens. Enough is enough Wake up Mr. Gonzi and Mr. Mifsud Bonnici. If you two are not up for the job, there are others - both nationalist and labour who are capable of doing this job.
Igor P. Shuvalov
.... u issa nigu niftahru bil-kisbiet li ghamilna waqt il-Laqgha, kif ftaharna xhur ilu, snin ilu... u dejjem ferhanin ghax taparsi offrewlna xi haga.
L-aqwa li qeghdin mal-mejda. lanqas mill-frak li jaqa ma qed imissna. Jekk ma hux ser tibda minn x imkien hadd ma hu ser jirrispettana. Ibda minn tal-libya fejn sarkozy bellalna l-eluf ta immigranti u qaghad gallaria. KUN ragel u ghidilhom li l=Libya ghandu jieqaf il-glied kollu u ma ahna ser nghinu lil hadd biex joqtol...jigifieri jekk jispiccalhom il-petrol jghumu; la ma kienux kapaci jiehdu hsieb l-immigranti bhalma hadu hsieb il-vapuri tal-merkanzija..
avatar EU agrees to reform internal border rules An 'exceptional' mechanism will come into place to counter "illegal immigration"
So much for the dear friends they boast they have!!!
So Skarkozy's and Cameron's pat on Gonzi's back (and which pleases him immensely) was just a gesture and nothing more. Meanwhile, we close our eyes for the jet fighters coming and going as they please. There is no solidarity coming our way from Europe. But Gonzi is pleased because we are making another contribution for Greek's bail-out. Europe is merely bossing us around and we humbly bow to the pressure.
Malta should tell the EU we will keep giving milions to air malta and keep it open because air malta is our national airline and our only survival and rescue air base. UK SPAIN FRANCE name them all they use billions of EU funds for their army we have none and when it was needed to rescue the maltese from libia air malta was our only source so it should be subsidised whatever the eu says. Malta needs a good representative a political party who believes in Malta not in a salary increase for inefficiencies.
Nice guy my foot he's a whimp, he's got a weapon , ie the veto, and he's either scared to use it or too much obligations hinder him from using it. Only yesterday we had Simon Busutill claiming what a good deal was had on the Frontex issue. Par idejn sodi only good to grab a double wage and a €500 per week wage increase, otherwise they are useless when it comes to politics.
Our pathetic politicians cant get it through their inflated egos that the rest of Europe consider us as worthless. It is only them that think that the world revolves around Malta. Proud as I am about my country yet we are powerless. All they can do is stay in the back row for the pictures to be taken. And back row it is for everything. Muscat is right. Gonzi if you have the balls for it show them you either get listened to or use the veto. and fuck the rest like they are telling you little pain fuck off. Show them we are fed up of their arrogance. but then you would not want to spoil the partying and fun do you.......
So Dr Gonzi gets rebuffed all the way. But he does not have the guts to say that in that case Malta will no longer abide by the Refugee Convention which puts on Malta burdens without any advantages or compensation. Dr Gonzi is the typical nice guy who is happy when he's knocked and punched on the head.
When is our PM going to realise that passionate pleaing and crocodile's tears do not work at EU level and are only successful, it seems, when used locally? The problem with this Government is that at an international level it has not managed to place itself on the map and is never taken seriously. Furthermore our size has not helped either. This Government has always been too soft and has always aligned itself with each and every law and agreement that the EU wanted to enact. It has never been capable of stamping its feet and making its voice heard. At an international level our say is next to zero. This is even worse then if we had not joined the EU in the first place. It takes some balls to actually change this perception, something which this government doesn't have, unless that is, its a local issue.