Managing migration crisis is a major focus of the upcoming upcoming Maltese presidency of the EU (2017). The Maltese politicians call for a ‘holisitc approach’, treating the root causes of the problem, but not only the consequences Europe experienced in 2016, when usual numbers of Africans illegally crossing Mediterranean have been at dramatic raise.
As a smallest EU state, Malta also had it share of burden receiving 17,743 migrants in a last decade, which is considerably above its capacity – the situation to cause frictions between Valletta and Brussels, imposing ‘solidarity’ on its member-states. Subsequently Maltese were not allowed to send migrants back by The Human rights Court (ECHR), while the authorities did not see the other solution but returning 103 illegals arrived in July 2016 back to Libya. However the EU imposition of illegal migrants reception does not enlarge the island’s capacity for acceptance and integration of migrants flows from African continent, as the most affected by conflict, with rapidly growing internally displaced population, in 2015 it already reaching 16 million people according to UN, and continuously growing as a result of ungoing conflicts on the continent.
At the Valletta Summit on Migration (2015) the concept of encouraging African states to engage in ongoing crisis solution materialized in a certain “architecture” which can serve as a basis to built on further initiatives. In this regard the Maltese Presidency will continue to work with the European Parliament to reach an agreement on the External Investment Plan, a financial instrument which will target the socio-economic development in countries of origin.
Repeatedly the Maltese diplomats call for consideration of a comprehensive aid programme – similar to the Marshall Plan for Europe after the WWII – to address the root causes in countries of origin and transit.
Next to general framework, Maltese presidency underlined the significance for permanent engagement with Egypt and Libya in order to defeat traffickers on the Central Mediterranean migration routes. In spite of the ongoing rejection of a number of the EU-members to relocate migrants the upcoming presidency of the EU believes in an effective and tangible solidarity package. The Maltese representatives insist on the reform of the Common European Asylum System as a key element of the migrant crisis resolution, providing solution.
Next to Mediterranean routs Maltese presidency is also paying attention to the situation on other direction, namely on flows from Turkey.
The Maltese Deputy Prime Minister Louis Gerch underlined that the situation in Turkey is ‘delicate’, he supported the concept of the EU to maintaining an open dialogue within the existing framework and using all instruments.