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As tension continues to mount over the treatment of migrants fleeing from North African countries, solidarity and respect for agreed rules amongst EU Member States appears to be falling apart.
Remarks by Italian Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni at yesterday’s JHA Council meeting in Luxembourg that Italy might leave the EU over the issue marks a new low in relations between Europe’s Mediterranean countries who have been passing the buck over responsibility for processing the thousands of additional requests for entry visas for North African migrants.
Cecilia Wikstrom (Folkpartiet, Sweden), ALDE spokesperson on a key directive inside the asylum package, said: “It has to be said that solidarity between EU Member States does not apply. With solidarity comes responsibility. There is clearly an urgent need for a review of the mechanism that triggers burden-sharing of asylum claims in times of increased migration flows but it is the Council that has been blocking proposals for a recast of the Dublin II Regulation that would have clarified some of the conditions and reception standards required for processing claims.”
“The problem we face is how to hold a rational debate when some politicians are stamping their feet to the beat of nationalist and populist rhetoric and throwing accusations at each other instead of coming up with sensible suggestions.”
Sarah Ludford (UK, Lib Dem), who has instigated a question to Commission and Council on recent events, also decried the current situation: “I am appalled by the remarks from Minister Maroni and the ‘tit for tat’ reactions from neighbouring states that have resulted from the Italian Government’s response to the current migratory pressures. Imposing border controls between Member States would shatter the benefits of the Schengen Accord that have allowed millions of EU citizens to travel around Europe without facing border checks and destroy one of the most visible and significant planks of European unity.”