On 29 January this week, the Southern European Heads of State or Government, from Cyprus, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Malta, and Spain met in Nicosia to discuss their position on some ongoing political issues at the EU level. One of these issues was, as predictable, migration. Establishing a united front on the reform of EU migration and asylum policy has been on the agenda of every single summit between Southern European leaders since the start of their gatherings in Athens, 2016. Southern European leaders reiterated the call for “shared responsibility and solidarity” – and urged their EU counterparts to push ahead with the “implementation of the Conclusions of the 28 June European Council.” In June 2018, EU leaders agreed on measures geared towards the management of migratory inflows. But most importantly, they committed to alleviating the responsibility of Greece, Italy and Spain - but “only on a voluntary basis”. The materialisation of this commitment, however, has been slow in coming. Meanwhile Italy continues closing its ports to migrant rescue boats and persists in its war against NGOs active in search and rescue operations. One of the main political and systemic issue in the Union is still the reform of the Dublin Regulation, according to which the first country that an asylum seeker enters is responsible for the examination of their claim – placing a heavy burden on frontline countries, given that most migrants arrive via the Mediterranean Sea. Despite their efforts, the Tuesday summit ended with another factual observation. The spirit of the European Union seems to be lost every time Member States’ governments come together to discuss the migration issue. In this chaotic mix of opinions and positions on the topic, the reality is that migration has not stopped and can’t be stopped.
For this reason SOLIDAR and its members continue to urge that priority attention be given to the needs of migrants as persons with inviolable subjective rights, which are more than often ignored. SOLIDAR presses for: