The term ‘flex­i­ble sol­i­dar­ity’ for mi­gra­tion is still not de­fined – Min­is­ter Carmelo Abela

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

The term ‘flex­i­ble sol­i­dar­ity’ is still not de­fined, Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Carmelo Abela said yes­ter­day.

He was hold­ing a press con­fer­ence with EU Com­mis­sioner for Mi­gra­tion Dim­itris Avramopou­los.

“When it comes to the term ‘flex­i­ble sol­i­dar­ity’ as a pol­icy al­ter­na­tive to the cor­rec­tive al­lo­ca­tion mech­a­nism as set out by the Com­mis­sion in the Dublin pro­pos­als, this is open to dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tions. We need to hear and learn more about this term. The Mal­tese Pres­i­dency will strive to seek a com­pro­mise which is po­lit­i­cally ac­cept­able but also guar­an­tees ef­fec­tive sol­i­dar­ity. In my opin­ion, for sol­i­dar­ity to be ef­fec­tive, it can­not be flex­i­ble, cer­tainly not in an a la carte way” Min­is­ter Abela said.

He ex­plained that by flex­i­bil­ity, some are say­ing it means a pick and choose ap­proach such as giv­ing funds in­stead of re­lo­ca­tion, oth­ers say­ing about giv­ing as­sets. We need to dis­cuss the def­i­ni­tion with mem­ber states, he said.

Min­is­ter Abela said that in or­der for agree­ment to be found on mi­gra­tion, then one fun­da­men­tal word is nec­es­sary, and this is “sol­i­dar­ity”.

“The Mal­tese Pres­i­dency will strive to make progress on the var­i­ous as­pects of mi­gra­tion, in­clud­ing on the com­mon EU asy­lum sys­tem, bor­der con­trol, re­turns and read­mis­sion and tack­ling mi­grant smug­gling,” he said.

“We must give due im­por­tance to the Cen­tral Mediter­ranean Route. The num­ber of mi­grant deaths at sea be­tween Italy and Libya this year is over 4,200.”

Turn­ing to the Dublin reg­u­la­tions, he said that a sys­tem must be built that can with­stand fu­ture chal­lenges, where sol­i­dar­ity kicks in ef­fi­ciently and where re­spon­si­bil­ity is shared.”

Com­mis­sioner Avramopou­los also gave his two-cents on the term ‘flex­i­ble sol­i­dar­ity’.

“The term sol­i­dar­ity does not need in­ter­pre­ta­tion. Can you imag­ine a flex­i­ble, or se­lec­tive mar­riage? It doesn’t work, and the same ap­plies with sol­i­dar­ity. This is the mo­ment for mem­ber states to prove what they re­ally mean when they talk about sol­i­dar­ity. Sol­i­dar­ity and re­spon­si­bil­ity are not only moral val­ues, but they are the le­gal prin­ci­ples bind­ing all mem­ber states. These terms are ex­plic­itly stated in the found­ing prin­ci­ples in the union,” he said.

The Com­mis­sioner spoke of work which needs to be done on ef­fec­tive se­cu­rity. “We need to en­sure that all our sys­tems are in­ter­con­nected to en­sure the right level of se­cu­rity for the cit­i­zens of the EU”.

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