L-Erbgħa, 13 ta’ Ġunju 2018
Stqarrija maħruġa mill-Uffiċċju tal-MEP Miriam Dalli
The European Parliament must stand up to the European Council if it continues to fail to act on the migration issue, Labour MEP Miriam Dalli has said.
“We have the solution for a centralised system and if Council doesn’t want to hear that, then something needs to be done as soon as possible,” she said.
Dalli was addressing the European Parliament debate with representatives from the Commission and Council on humanitarian emergencies in the Mediterranean. The debate was introduced to this week’s plenary agenda at the last minute, following Italy’s decision to close its ports to migrants on board the MV Aquarius.
Dalli urged the European Council to start acting, if it was truly concerned about the lives being put at risk in the Mediterranean Sea.
“I just heard the Council say that they are concerned about seeing the same scenes over and over again of flimsy dinghies with people on board. With all due respect, what are you waiting for? Because it is up to the governments in the Council to come together and act on this issue collectively and not allow certain members to get away with it, scot-free,” Dalli said.
In reply to comments raised in the European Parliament claiming that Malta was doing nothing, Dalli said that Malta has always respected and adhered to its international obligations whilst all of its assets were dedicated to saving lives at seas. Moreover, Malta had the second highest number of refugees per capita, second only to Sweden.
“By pinpointing fingers to one member state or the other will not solve this issue. We are in this together and only if we act as one we can truly make a difference.”
The European Council has an obligation to act, whilst the European Parliament should be in a position to look at the available tools in order to ensure that the Council stops dragging its feet on such an important matter.
On Tuesday morning, the European Parliament also debated the priorities for Europe ahead of a crucial EU summit due at the end of the month. During this debate, MEP Dalli criticised leaders of certain Member States who do not want to act on the migration issue: “What solidarity do you believe in?” she asked, insisting that country leaders should stop passing the buck.
In the case of MV Aquarius, Malta was neither the coordinating nor the competent authority in this rescue operation, which took place within Libyaʾs Search and Rescue Region coordinated by RCC Rome. Maltaʾs Armed Forces still prepared themselves to assist in any requests for urgent medical evacuations.