Task Force to deal with the migration flows in the Mediterranean
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A proposal to establish a Task Force to deal with migration flows in the Mediterranean has been supported by EU Ministers responsible for Home Affairs meeting in Luxembourg. It was also agreed to take this forward without delay.
Malta considers this to be an important step forward, in line with its migration policy, but warned that any attempt to turn the Task Force in an exercise to gain time and allow current inaction will be resisted by the country.
Minister Emanuel Mallia participated in the meeting. He said that although it was not sufficient, the Task Force is necessary in order to identify a number of tangible measures which will ensure that the European Union lives up to its responsibility to address the situation and prevent recurrences, and to step up solidarity with the Member States which are the points of first entry. The Minister added that individual Member States cannot be expected to bear the responsibility of a European problem.
During the meeting, Member States also agreed with what Malta has been saying all along, namely that it is necessary to engage more with transit countries, particularly Libya, and to mobilize all existing EU tools to put “words into action” in terms of developing a truly effective common response to this European challenge.
Also on the agenda was the first Annual Relocation Forum which took place in Brussels on 25 September. Malta reiterated that it is widely acknowledged that it faces disproportionate pressures due to a large number of beneficiaries of international protection that it is hosting and together with the Commission called upon Member States to demonstrate tangible solidarity through relocation. The Maltese government is not satisfied by the lack of concrete initiatives by most Member States.
The Council meeting also discussed the latest developments with regards to protecting refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria and took note of an interim report by the European Commission on the main findings regarding issues related to the free movement of EU citizens.