Gozo Minister participates in ‘We are all Mediterranean’ solidarity campaign
|Email item||Print item||
The Minister for Gozo Anton Refalo has participated in the Launch Event of the Solidarity Campaign “We are all Mediterranean,” by the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe, which is taking place in Palermo.
Following the latest boat disaster that caused more than 800 deaths in the Mediterranean Sea and the poor outcome of the extraordinary EU Council on immigration, the CPMR Inter-Mediterranean Commission has organised different events aimed at exchanging views and experiences on challenges related to migration.
Dr Refalo, in his intervention, said that last month’s events highlighted the brutality of the criminal networks behind illegal immigration and risks people take, and will continue to take, to reach Europe. “Given Malta’s small size and high population density, the impact of immigrant arrivals for Malta is higher than in most other European countries.”
The Gozo Minister gave a presentation on Malta’s experience in receiving and assisting migrants, whereby it is responsible for a Search and Rescue Area of around 250,000 square kilometres, and its armed forces involving over 1,000 rescue operations saving 13,781 people at sea. He also spoke of how Detention Centres and Open Accommodation Centres operate.
Minister Refalo said that Malta has never shrugged its responsibility on receiving migrants, but it is affected by the Dublin Regulations that state that immigrants must stay within that member state in which they arrived.
“Therefore,” Dr Refalo said, “Malta welcomes the EU Agenda for Migration presented on 13 May 2015, particularly the proposal of an EU quota for redistribution of migrants across Europe.”
“This is the start of a long and hard journey in our efforts to tackle this humanitarian tragedy since we are all Mediterranean and human beings,” Dr Refalo concluded.
Linked to this Seminar, a visit to the migrant reception centre of Caltanisetta is scheduled for Tuesday. Then, on Wednesday, a delegation of Mediterranean presidents will meet Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, during the plenary session week. Michel Vauzelle, President of the CPMR Inter-Mediterranean Commission and of Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur Region will lead this delegation.
During these three days, regional representatives will also launch a campaign to raise awareness entitled “We are all Mediterranean.” This campaign will highlight the values of solidarity, cooperation, integration, and dialogue, as well as the fight against racism, xenophobia and terrorism.