Southern European leaders gather in Malta to discuss worsening migrant problematic

    WORLD  29 September 2023 - 22:58

    Leaders from nine Mediterranean and southern European countries convened in Malta for discussions centering on migration.

    This summit is taking place on September 29, one day after the UN refugee agency reported that over 2,500 migrants had tragically lost their lives or gone missing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean this year, a significantly higher figure compared to the same period in 2022, the Times of Malta reports.

    At the same time, European Union interior ministers made notable progress toward new regulations governing the handling of asylum seekers and irregular migrants within the EU on September 28. An announcement of a finalized deal is expected in the coming days.

    The issue of migration to the EU has gained fresh attention following a substantial influx of asylum seekers to the small Italian island of Lampedusa in September, with reports indicating that over 133,000 individuals had already passed through the island this year.

    The "Med9" summit in Malta invited EU member states France, Greece, Italy, Croatia, Cyprus, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain. The EU aims to reach an updated agreement on its Pact on Migration and Asylum. This update seeks to alleviate the pressure on frontline countries like Italy and Greece by relocating some arrivals to other EU states. Notably, states unwilling to open their borders, such as Poland and Hungary, will have the option to pay a significant fee to avoid participation.

    Leaders are expected to also discuss issues of human trafficking and organized crime on a European level. 

    Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, known for her far-right coalition government elected on an anti-migration platform, has encountered disagreements with both France and Germany as she urges other EU nations to share the migration burden. However, recent meetings between Meloni and French President Macron have aimed to ease tensions, including a meeting on the sidelines of the state funeral for former Italian President Giorgio Napolitano held in Rome.

    Caliber.Az

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