In the joint statement, Italy, Greece, Malta and Cyprus reaffirmed their position that they “cannot subscribe to the notion that countries of first entry for illegal immigrants are the only European landing points”.
They added that the number of migrants provided by other EU member states “represents a very small fraction of the actual number of irregular arrivals” to the European continent.
The four countries criticized the operations of private humanitarian ships, saying they were operating “with complete autonomy from competent government authorities” to rescue hundreds of migrants rescued at sea.
Italy’s new far-right-led government has been embroiled in a clash with humanitarian groups in recent weeks, which have argued that the countries whose flags the ships sail should welcome the migrants, a claim contested by humanitarian associations and legal experts. And human rights activists..
On Friday, the European Commission said the latest case of the humanitarian ship ‘Ocean Viking’, whose docking was blocked by Italy and ended up in France, shows “once again” the need for a migration and asylum policy.
“The situation we see in the Mediterranean exposes once again the urgent need for a single and coherent migration and asylum policy”, highlighted the social administrator when asked about this by Lusa.
Brussels recalled that, in the same response to Lusa, it made a proposal in this regard two years ago, seizing the opportunity to “appeal to the Member States and the European Parliament to carry out the task of its adoption”.
Such situations can be responded to by “creating an appropriate and durable framework for migration management at European Union (EU) level, in the form of a new treaty on migration and asylum”. Ocean Viking’ said. Same source.
According to French maritime authorities, 234 migrants disembarked three weeks ago in Toulon, south of France, by the humanitarian ship ‘Ocean Viking’ in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya, after an “exceptional” decision. Rome is at their disposal for never allowing the ship, managed by the non-governmental organization (NGO) SOS Méditerranée, to dock in Italy.
In a gesture of solidarity shared with other member states, Portugal guaranteed to welcome “some migrants” from the humanitarian ship ‘Ocean Viking’, without specifying the numbers.
On 23 September 2020, the European Commission proposed a new Treaty on Migration and Asylum to give new impetus to the reform of the Common European Asylum System.
Asylum policy is the way the European Union organizes the ability of member states to respond to migrants arriving at the EU’s external borders and seeking asylum.