Malta pledges to take 74 persons in need of protection over 2 years
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European Union Member States have for the first time agreed to a programme to relocate and resettle migrants from countries facing an emergency situation. The first beneficiaries, given their emergency situation, are Italy and Greece.
The Government has said that an agreement was reached on the relocation of 33,000 migrants, falling slightly short of the 40,000 target. Nevertheless, EU Home Affairs Ministers meeting in Brussels during an extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council agreed to try and reach this target by year’s end. An agreement was reached on the resettlement of a further 20,000 who qualify for protection and who are outside the European Union.
The number of migrants to be relocated and resettled to Malta, according to a package of measures based on the European Agenda on Migration, will be reduced to a total of 74 persons (60 persons to be relocated and 14 persons to be resettled) in clear need of protection over two years.
According to the commission’s original proposal, Malta’s allocation for relocation was of 292 asylum seekers over two years.
Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela welcomed the efforts made so far. He said that even though the original target was not reached, this was much more than was ever achieved. While reiterating his hope that the relocation target would be reached by the end of the year, Minister Abela said that this precedent is of significant importance to Malta if it ever faces an emergency situation again.
Minister Abela also welcomed a statement by Commissioner for Migration Dimitri Avramopoulos who stated the European Commission’s commitment to propose a permanent mechanism.
“Malta’s stand represents a commitment to EU responsibility while taking into account the country’s specificities so as to continue safeguarding national interest,” concluded Minister Abela.