The Government of Malta has reportedly objected to proposed changes to Frontex operational guidelines and has threatened to possibly end its participation in patrols overseen by Frontex.
The proposed changes to the Frontex guidelines were made by the European Council and will be considered by the European Parliament. The changes would require that migrants intercepted at sea be sent to the country hosting the Frontex mission if the migrants could not be returned to the country from which they last departed. Currently intercepted migrants are to be taken to the nearest port.
“In terms of the new guidelines, should Malta host a Frontex mission, as it has done in the past two years, it will have to take all the immigrants rescued, even if they were picked up outside its search and rescue region and closer to other countries. ‘We will still continue to follow our international obligations to the letter as we’ve always done but we will not accept changes to these international obligations,’ a Malta government spokesman said.
Even if Frontex guidelines were to be changed, Italy will presumably continue its policy of forcibly returning to Libya migrants intercepted by Italian authorities.
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