The plan will be presented to interior ministers from all 28 EU nations on October 8, with officials anxious to sign up as many states as possible to the programme and resolve one of the most contentious issues the bloc has faced in recent years. Rescued migrants arrive on an Armed Forces of Malta patrol boat in Valletta’s Marsamxett Harbour, Malta. September 21, 2019. (Reuters) Interior ministers from five EU countries said on Monday they had agreed to a new scheme to distribute refugees and migrants saved from the Mediterranean in a deal aimed at relieving the pressure on southern EU states.
The plan will be presented to interior ministers from all 28 EU nations on October 8, with officials anxious to sign up as many states as possible to the programme and resolve one of the most contentious issues the bloc has faced in recent years.
“We have started to make history, but it all depends on the support of all or most of the other EU countries in accepting to participate in the disembarkation and distribution of migrants,” said Maltese Interior Minister Michael Farrugia.
Farrugia was joined at Monday's meeting by his counterparts from Italy, France, Germany and Finland, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU.
Details of the accord were not given at the end of the meeting, but Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said the idea was for rescued migrants to be sent to various EU states within four weeks of being brought ashore.
Those countries would then handle their asylum requests, welcoming them in if they met the necessary requirements and organising their repatriation if they do not.
“From today, Italy and Malta are not alone. There is a recognition that these two countries represent the gateway to Europe,” she added.
Italy and Malta have long complained that they have been left alone to deal with the hundreds of thousands of migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean in recent years looking for a better life in Europe.
European Union leaders voted for a mandatory relocation of rescued migrants in 2015 but the plan was never adopted and only a tiny handful of those picked up at sea were eventually given legal papers allowing them to go to other countries.
LINK ORIGINAL: Trtworld