Mediterranean countries disappointed by migration relocation

Joint letter from Italy, Malta, Cyprus, Greece criticizes EU

15 November, 09:00

    (ANSA) - ROME, 15 NOV - Italy, Malta, Cyprus and Greece sent a joint letter in which they criticize the lack compliance with agreements by Member States, but Spain makes its own points separately.

    ROME - Italy, Malta, Cyprus and Greece noted that the lack of compliance with migration relocation agreements is "unfortunate and disappointing". "Unfortunately the number of relocation commitments taken on by Member States only represents a very minimal fraction of the actual illegal arrivals", states the joint note, written on 12 November. The mechanism, they added, has proven to be "slow" in alleviating the pressure on the countries who are at the forefront of the arrivals. "Italy, Greece, Malta and Cyprus, are the countries where migrants first arrive via the Mediterranean, and because of this they have the heaviest burden in managing the flow of migrants in the Mediterranean, while complying fully with all international obligations and of EU laws. We have always supported the idea the need to develop a new European policy for migration and asylum, truly inspired by principles of solidarity and responsibility and one that is shared by all Member States", highlights the note.

    'NGOs must comply with international laws' "We cannot underwrite the principle by which the countries who represent the first entry into Europe should be the only European points for migrants to dock, especially when this happens in a matter which is not coordinated on the basis of choices made by private ships which act in total autonomy with respect to local competent authorities". This is the position expressed in the joint declaration. The four Mediterranean countries have asked NGOs to "comply" with the "international legal framework of search and rescue operations". "Each State has to exercise its own jurisdiction and control over the ships that sailing under its flag", stated Italy, Malta, Cyprus and Greece. Furthermore, these countries believe that "there is an urgent need for a discussion regarding coordination of NGOs within the framework of international laws". "All countries must assume their own responsibility in conformity with international obligations", concludes the note which calls for the EU to adopt adopt measures to launch the discussion.

    Spain states "We cannot support these proposals" Madrid has stated that "it cannot support proposals that would favor countries that do not respect their obligations in terms of international maritime law and that would go to the detriment of those, like Spain, who have complied with these laws and who save lives with public resources". This statement was made to the Italian news wire Ansa by a spokesperson of the Interior Ministry of Spain, commenting the joint declaration of Italy, Greece, Malta and Cyprus on migrants aimed at the European Union. The premise is that Spain "shares with its Mediterranean partners the need to create a mechanism for an equal distribution of the responsibilities of migration among EU countries. A principle which the country has always maintained both within Med5 and at the meetings of the Interior Ministerial Councils" but "it cannot support proposals that favor countries which do not respect their obligations of international maritime law and that would penalize those like Spain, who by complying with such laws save lives with public resources".

    PHOTO: Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska ¸ poses together with his counterparts from Cyprus Nikos Nouris(L), Greek Immigration and Asylum Policies Minister Notis Mitarachi (2L), Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese (2R) and Malta's Interior Minister Byron Camilleri at the beginning of EU MED5 group's meeting in Malaga, southern Spain, 25 September 2021. EPA / DANIEL PEREZ (ANSA).

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