Mediterranean countries insist on involving other EU states to take care of refugees

They are afraid of further bearing the migratory burden

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Thomas Kulidakis

Four Mediterranean countries have sent a joint letter to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, insisting that refugees be sent to other EU countries as a measure of solidarity.
They fear that the proposal for a new, reformed EU asylum policy will leave them with their original problem of having to carry the burden of illegal migration on their shoulders, just in a new setting.
Italy, Malta, Greece and Spain are united by a common fate determined by their geographical location. While the people of these countries can enjoy the favorable Mediterranean climate, they have also been the gateway for migrants and refugees coming to the Continent for the last five years.
The coronavirus pandemic might have lessened the activity of human and refugee smugglers, but concern for migrants and refugees has not disappeared, and the battle for the future of migration policy continues.
The transformation of illegal migration is well documented by statistical data from the so-called Eastern migration route, mainly from Turkey to Greece and further through the Balkans to the rest of Europe. In the first 10 months of 2020, according to the Greek Government, the number of refugees who came to the Greek Islands fell by 76 percent. So, 13,482 more were added to Greece and to the European Union as well. Last year, 55,541 people entered during the same period.
Other statistics show that the number of refugees on the five busiest islands has decreased by about 60 percent. Instead of 42,000 people, there are now about 19,000 migrants in overcrowded camps. Meanwhile, the number of pending asylum applications in the first instance decreased by 38 percent to almost 90,000.
However, the number of new applications has doubled.
German Presidency
These statistics are necessary to realize the extent of the problem, which is gradually being addressed now that illegal migration has slowed due to the current coronavirus situation.
In addition to addressing the refugees already present, Member States are still negotiating a new migration policy. In their letter, four Mediterranean countries wrote what their representatives repeat at press conferences and in personal interviews.
Solidarity must be integral to any proposal; when there are too many people, it is not possible to take care of them with dignity and to process their requests within a reasonable time. The proposal for a contribution of €10,000 from the EU treasury for each refugee received by the countries that serve as a gateway to Europe is said to be insufficient, as well as the option of choosing whether to help with deportations or materials.
From the point of view of these countries, their obligation to protect their borders and the Union as a whole, while at the same time caring for those who enter Europe, is clearly defined. But the responsibilities of others are unclear. They call on the European Commission to work with the German Presidency to make the acceptance of asylum seekers a clear obligation.
The German Presidency and the new Commission are trying to succeed where their predecessors have failed. But they are looking for a path in the footsteps of a dead-end maze.
Title image: Migrants, most of them from Morocco, are watched by Spanish Police after arriving at the coast of the Canary Islands, Spain, on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, after crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a wooden boat. (AP Photo/Javier Bauluz)


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