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Migration: EU summit in Tallinn, verbal commitment to rehoming. No concession on ports for NGO ships. More support to Libya

In Tallinn, the Home Ministers of the EU member states, who met this morning for an informal meeting, acknowledged that “the situation in the Central Mediterranean Sea and the resulting pressure on Italy are causes for great concern for all the member states”. This has been written in the release issued at the end of the morning’s meeting, where the items on the agenda included migration, with a focus on the Mediterranean route, the enforcement of responsibility and solidarity principles, and the processing of repatriation policies. “The Ministers renewed their commitment to taking urgent measures by upgrading the coordination and implementation of all of the points covered by the Malta Declaration, under the partnership, and the Valletta joint action plan”. However, “the right balance must be found between the solidarity and responsibility principles and providing adequate support to the member states that are most affected”. The release from Tallinn speaks of “agreement reached on using all the available means” to reduce migratory pressure in the Mediterranean Sea, first and foremost by making “greater efforts in Libya” and in the other third countries to prevent departures. The Italian idea of making sure that the NGOs work within a clear regulatory framework, which will be laid down by Italy as soon as possible, with the help of the EU Commission and in consultation with the NGOs themselves, has been well received.
In addition, efforts will have to be made to improve cooperation between the coastal rescue centres on the European side of the Mediterranean Sea. Italy’s proposal to implement an effective migratory policy, by reducing attractiveness and ensuring 100% of migrants are identified and registered, has been supported too. The Italian Home Minister’s commitment to fully implementing the current acquis on asylum and repatriation policies has been favourably met. “The Ministers also undertook to take all the measures required to make sure all those entitled are rehomed by Italy”, is the last point they agreed upon. The meeting will go on in the afternoon, along with the Ministers of Justice. No one embraced Italy’s idea to open more ports to the NGOs that rescue migrants at sea.

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