Update from Today’s LIBE Committee’s Discussions re Central Mediterranean

The Hungarian Presidency and LIBE have released summaries regarding today’s LIBE Committee meeting.  Here are some points from the two summaries:

  • Commissioner Malmström emphasized that, so far, migrants had not started coming to Europe from Libya, but the EU had to prepare for this possibility;
  • Frontex Director Laitinen made it clear that the region should not be seen as a whole, but as separate countries with separate problems;
  • Laitinen underlined that from Tunisia only economic migration could be seen so far, but for the moment, as Tunisian authorities have regained control of the migration flow, this had stopped, as well. Since 26 February, no migrants had arrived to Lampedusa.
  • Laitinen also stressed that Italy was not the only entry point for migrants from North-Africa. Greece should not be forgotten in this context.  Low-cost flights from North-Africa to Istanbul were operating, bringing many migrants who then were trying to enter the Schengen area through the Greek-Turkish border;
  • Laitinen said that the possibility of extending Hermes to address Malta’s needs was being examined. More money and staff might be needed if the current emergency persists;
  • MEPs urged Member States to accelerate work on the “asylum package” and stressed the need for solidarity as regards relocating migrants;
  • Malmström said that most of the current migration from Tunisia to Lampedusa appears to be for economic reasons;
  • Malmström said that “Frontex and Member States may not push away people in need of international protection”;
  • MEP Simon Busuttil (EPP, MT) said the three main priorities in Libya are halting violence, sending humanitarian aid and planning for a possible immigration emergency. “What if a mass influx turns into Europe, is there a plan in the drawer to be pull out if this happens?” “Member States show no appetite for relocation.”

Click here and here for the two articles.

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Filed under European Union, Frontex, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mediterranean, News, Tunisia, Turkey

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