Ministers from five EU Mediterranean countries (Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain) met in Malta and insisted on the need to crack down on illegal immigration at a summit on Saturday.
This is the first meeting between the five Mediterranean countries since the tragic shipwreck of Calabria (southern Italy), in which at least 68 migrants died last Sunday.
“Everything is ready for the MED5 meeting to begin in our country. During this meeting, the ministers (…) will discuss a common position on migration and asylum,” the host minister, Byron Camilleri, said on the official website this Saturday. .
Along with the Maltese minister, the Italian Matteo Piantedosi, the Spanish Fernando Grande Marlaska and the Greek Notis Mitarachi will participate, as well as the Cypriot undersecretary Costas Constantinou, according to the Maltese Ministry of the Interior.
“Today the five of us have shared our experience on the ongoing application of the voluntary solidarity mechanism and we have reached the same conclusion that it is not working as desired. The procedure is too slow, too selective with few results and too little predictable” , declared Fernando Grande-Marlaska, Minister of the Interior of Spain.
The ministers also insisted on the need to work with the countries of origin and transit of many immigrants. They also advocated accelerating the rate of return of people who do not meet the requirements to obtain asylum.
The Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi, told the press that only 1% of the immigrants who arrived in these border countries last year were welcomed by other EU member countries within the framework of a program of voluntary relocation.
According to the UN refugee agency, last year some 160,100 migrants arrived in Europe through the Mediterranean, 30% more than in 2021.