EU agrees on automatic system for relocation of refugees

EU agrees on automatic system for relocation of refugees

The interior ministers from France, Germany, Italy, and Malta agreed on the "automatic" system for the relocation of asylum seekers before the permanent system will be introduced on the EU territory. The agreement will be presented to other countries on October 8th. Italy, Spain, and Malta have complained repeatedly over the past few years that other EU member states are not yet appropriately dealing with asylum seekers, EU Observer writes in the article Four EU states want 'automatic' refugee relocation.

The highest number of registered first-time asylum seekers applicants in 2018 per capita was recorded in Cyprus, ahead of Greece, Malta, and Luxembourg, according to the EU asylum agency EASO - while Italy is the 13th country in the list, below France and Germany. Last week, French president Emmanuel Macron urged the EU to overcome its "ineffective" migration policy, admitting the disproportion of responsibility between EU frontline states and other countries. "The European Union has not shown sufficient solidarity towards countries of first arrival, notably Italy," said Macron last Wednesday. Meanwhile, Italy authorised on Sunday the disembarkation of 182 migrants from the Ocean Viking rescue ship, since Malta refused them to disembark in the island because they were rescued outside its territorial waters, according to the NGO SOS Méditerranée.

New proposal

The interior ministers of the four EU countries are expected to discuss how to relocate within Europe those migrant rescued in the Mediterranean sea. These discussions could also involve Malta, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, and Spain shortly, the Italian newspapers Repubblica and Stampa reported. The objective of the meeting is to negotiate a temporary and voluntary agreement, that would prevent member states from negotiating relocation on a case-by-case basis as it has happened until now. France and Germany have given their green light to the new system, saying they are ready to take in 25 percent of people rescued at sea. Italy is willing to host up to 10 percent of the rescued migrants since the country has already hosted tens of thousands of new arrivals. The acting Spanish interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska has rejected this new system since he believes that "the response of the European Union must be unique and affecting the entire Mediterranean", reported the Spanish press.

Automatic relocation system

In 2015, the commission proposed "a new automated system to monitor the number of asylum applications received and the number of persons resettled by each member state" However, the attempt of the EU to impose mandatory quotas of refugees did not work as planned and six member states (Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, and Italy) said the Commission proposal did not comply with the principle of subsidiarity. Negotiations about the revision of the 'Dublin regulation' began last July in Helsinki, at a meeting of all 28 EU interior ministers, including Italy's former interior minister, Matteo Salvini.

The ministers of foreign affairs of Italy and Malta, Enzo Moavero and Carmelo Abela, sent a joint document to EU officials referring to the complex situation in the Mediterranean sea and seeking emergency solutions. "Reforming the Dublin regulation is not enough, we need to go further and take care of all migrants," said the statement. Italian PM Giuseppe Conte said earlier this week that the migration phenomenon must be coordinated at European level. "We must work as soon as possible to change the Dublin regulation," he said.

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