Italy, Malta, Cyprus and Greece demand a debate from the EU to coordinate rescues in the Mediterranean

The interior ministers of Italy, Malta and Cyprus together with the head of Migration and Asylum in Athens have sent this Saturday a joint letter to the European authorities to demand that the necessary measures be taken to coordinate the rescue actions in the Mediterranean.

The four point out in the text that as countries of first entry to Europe, through the central and eastern Mediterranean route, “bear the heaviest burden of these migratory flows”, while complying with international obligations and the rules of the European Union.

For this reason, they point to the slowness of the mechanism aimed at relocating migrants among all member states and denounce that the small number of commitments signed in this regard represent a “very small fraction” of the real number of irregular arrivals they have received since the beginning of the year, according to what has been collected The Republic.

“To date the mechanism has proven slow in achieving its stated objective of alleviating the burden to which all of us, as front-line Member States, are constantly exposed, as only a small number of relocations,” they maintain in the letter.

Migrants in the Mediterranean in 2015 ANNA SURINYACH

Diplomatic problems between Rome and Paris over the Ocean Viking

The four Mediterranean countries have branded this situation as “regrettable and disappointing” at a time when their territories are facing increasing “migratory pressure” that is “testing” their asylum and reception systems, as they denounce.

In addition, they affirm that while an agreement is reached on a new “effective, fair and permanent” cargo distribution mechanism, these countries cannot represent the only “European landing points for illegal immigrants”.

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Thus, they demand that the European Commission and the European Council urgently launch a necessary debate on the coordination of these operations through which it is ensured that “private ships respect the relevant conventions and other applicable regulations and all states of the flag assume their responsibilities in accordance with their international obligations.

In the text they also expressly refer to the NGO ships, after which they have pointed out that “the modus operandi of these private boats is not in line with the spirit of the international legal framework on search and rescue operationswhich must be respected”. And they have maintained that Each State must be able to exercise its jurisdiction and control over the ships that arrive at its coasts..

This letter is sent after diplomatic problems arose between Rome and Paris over the NGO SOS Méditerranée ship, the Ocean Viking, which finally headed for the Gallic port of Toulon, after the Government of Georgia Meloni refused to allow them to disembark.

A decision that led to the announcement by the French authorities that they were suspending a plan to welcome 3,500 refugees who had arrived in Italy.

Italy, Malta, Cyprus and Greece demand a debate from the EU to coordinate rescues in the Mediterranean