ATHENS – Ministers representing the MED5, the Mediterranean countries of first reception for refugees and migrants, held a teleconference to discuss the progress of the negotiations for the new European Pact on Migration and Asylum.
The meeting was held on Monday, following the conferences held in Athens in March 2021 and Malaga in September 2021. It was organised by Italy and focused on the five countries’ approach to the French EU Presidency’s initiative for a step-by-step approach, especially on the key issues of solidarity with first-reception countries and establishing an efficient and rapid relocation mechanism.
More specifically, according to a Greek migration and asylum ministry statement, the ministers of the five first-reception countries agreed that all undocumented arrivals should end up in a relocation mechanism coordinated by the European Commission, along with other essential forms of solidarity, which are tailored to the specific needs of the state concerned and will come in addition to relocations.
The MED5 ministers agreed to promote these positions in the coming weeks, starting with the Home Affairs Council next March, during which they will ask for specific commitments on the issue of solidarity.
In his speech, Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi pointed out that “so far, in the technical discussions, our needs and observations have not always been fully taken into account,” adding that “now, more than ever, we need to reaffirm our unity and to present concrete proposals and ‘red lines’ to the presidency.”
Mitarachi also proposed that the relocation mechanism “be activated when the use of closed centres at our external borders reaches 50 pct of total capacity.”