Malta’s plans to fast-track the arrival and distribution of migrants arriving by boats in the Mediterranean have been shot down by the overwhelming majority of EU countries.
Only Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal offered to take part in the plan spearheaded by Germany, France, Italy and Malta.
The plans would allow countries on the forefront of the migrant crisis to screen arrivals, relocate asylum seekers, and return people who do not apply or qualify for asylum, within four weeks.
“We were seven yesterday, seven this morning and seven this evening. So things haven’t changed much,” said Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s minister responsible for migration.
“Why us, and why no one else?”
The issue surrounding migration in the Mediterranean has reached a fever pitch over the past 18 months, ever since a coalition government in Italy with a strong anti-migrant stance took power.
Ad-hoc agreements between member states have so far solved an endless number of diplomatic standoffs between Italy, Malta, and NGOs rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean.
Both Italy and Malta have taken strong stances against the issue, blocking entry to NGO vessels on numerous occasions throughout the last year.
With a serious lack of political will from other EU member states to provide a long-term and sustainable solution to the migration issue, it remains to be seen how things will develop.