The European Council has accepted Malta’s proposal to set December 2013 as a deadline for the implementation of operational decisions aimed at offering solutions to the illegal immigration crises.
Prime Minister Muscat said that Malta has achieved a specific timeframe for the much-awaited decisions. “Postponing the problem to June was unaccetable for us. We insisted on December and have managed to reach our aim. This is a very important step for us”, he said.
Malta has put forward a set of concrete proposals which will be discussed in the Mediterranean task force over the next few weeks. Mainly the effective help for countries of origin to have representatation in frontline states, the promotion of new legal methods of migration towards the Europe and the setting up of asylum systems closer to the country of origin to discourage people from risking their live by crossing seas.
Dr Muscat proposed ideas on Frontex which, he said, cannot end up being a further burden on recipient member states but must have proper rules of engagement. Malta will insist that people, who get their asylum application refused, are repatriated in the shortest possible timeframe. Frontex is expected to deliver on this and Malta will issue travel documents in cases where countries of origin drag their feet to do so.
Other concrete proposals included concrete help to the African continent towards which Europe has a historical responsability and reforms in the financing mechanism whereby it would be easier for any country facing disproportionate pressure to apply for funds with less bureaucracy.
The Prime Minister said that, if Malta does not get the necessary help, he will be ready to take all necessary measures to protect the country’s interests. The European Council seemed to converge towards this approach through the approval, among others, of Germany and France.
Through its commitment, the European Council has sixty days to come up with proposals for the implementation of the discussed plan of action. “Malta shall insist on accountability. Europe must now prove itself”, concluded Dr Muscat.
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