Southern European countries want more effort for migration control from the EU

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The Med-5, a group of five southern European countries that form Europe’s southern border, have called on the European Union to take a more proactive approach to controlling irregular migration.

During their seventh summit in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, they emphasised the need for more preventive measures and better cooperation with countries of origin. Med-5 consists of Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Spain.

Call for better migration management

The summit, which was held outside the Mediterranean region, featured the interior ministers of Italy, Malta, Spain, the migration minister of Greece, and the director of the Asylum Service of Cyprus. They emphasised that the current reactive attitude of the EU regarding migration policy is not sufficient. They also advocated an approach that focuses more on prevention at the source and promoting return.

Financial support and partnerships

The Med-5 countries called on the European Commission to release more resources for cooperation with countries experiencing a large outflow of migrants. They pointed to existing agreements such as those between the EU and Tunisia, and between Spain and Senegal. These can serve as examples for new or expanded partnerships. These should be aimed at strengthening local economic and security conditions in order to reduce migration pressure.

Need for solidarity within the EU

The EU’s recently approved Migration Pact was discussed, with ministers indicating that this pact does not yet meet all expectations. However, it does represent a positive step forward. The pact provides for a mechanism of mandatory solidarity. EU member states either accept asylum seekers or make a financial contribution. This should lead to a fairer division of responsibilities.

Concerns about the compensation mechanism

There are concerns about the compensation mechanism within the pact. Countries can choose to make a financial contribution instead of taking in refugees. The Med-5 countries emphasised that this mechanism should not lead to a situation in which countries can simply ‘buy out’ of their responsibilities.

Return and cooperation with countries of origin

Finally, ministers emphasised that cooperation with countries of origin is essential to achieve both voluntary and forced returns of migrants who are not entitled to asylum or other protection within the EU. This cooperation must be one of the pillars of a strong and credible European asylum and migration system.

Also read: Significant increase in illegal immigration in Spain

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