Migration: Malta among eight states calling for more fortification and deportation

Malta and seven other EU member states tell Council they want fortified border management and an increase rate of return for failed asylum seekers


Malta and seven other member states said that as long as Europe does not enforce a mandatory relocation of asylum seekers, or returns of failed asylum seekers, the EU will be itself a ‘pull factor’ for migrants smuggled at sea or over land borders.

The call comes in a letter signed by the prime ministers of Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Latvia and Slovakia that argues “that national and local authorities are struggling to cope with the influx” and that member states should be giving priority to people in need of international protection, “including the Ukrainians that have been displaced in light of the Russian aggression.”

“The socioeconomic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which are now being fueled by higher energy prices, inflation and a potential economic downturn, could exacerbate irregular migration. In addition, structural factors such as climate change, population growth and conflicts, as well as the hybrid attack and the instrumentalisation of migration by authoritarian regimes, are likely to increase migratory pressures in the future.”

The countries said over half of asylum claims filedin the EU were deemed unfounded and rejected, but less than one-third of these claimants were being returned. “This leads to further strain on public finances and erodes public support and credibility for the asylum system as a whole.”

“The current asylum system is broken and primarily benefits the cynical human smugglers who take advantage of the misfortune of women, men and children,” the governments said.

They called for a comprehensive, European ‘whole-of-route approach’ that includes aerial surveillance of maritime borders.

They asked that Frontex fully assume a central role in European border management, with returns and to prevent unauthorised border crossings at land and sea borders.

They demanded an increase in expidited returns of failed asylum seekers, safe third-country arrangements, alignment of visa policies of priority third countries, and awareness campaigns aimed at potential irregular migrants.

“As political leaders, we need to act decisively to prevent another large-scale migration crisis. We look forward to discuss these ideas and achieve tangible progress at the upcoming meeting in the European Council.”

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