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September 24, 2019

Draft migration deal is agreed upon by five EU interior ministers

Draft migration deal is agreed upon by five EU interior ministers

Ministers from five EU countries have agreed on a draft deal on what actions need to be taken on the migrant crisis and how to distribute those saved from the Mediterranean. According to French interior minister Christopher Castaner, the plan will be presented to other EU interior ministers on October 8. “It's a first step that brings together our four countries under Finland's presidency,” Castaner added. At a press conference in Malta, Italian home secretary Luciana Lamorgese said that the project remains open to contributions from other countries and whilst she didn’t reveal details of the plan, according to Reuters, Lamorgese has said that migrants would be sent to other EU states within four weeks of arriving.

According to figures from the UN refugee agency, over 57,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Italy, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, and Malta by sea so far this year. Greece and Spain, two of the countries who took more migrants and refugees than any other EU state in 2018, were not present at the interior ministers' meeting. IZA World of Labor author Tim Hatton has looked at the asylum policies toward asylum-seekers in the EU. In his article, he notes that “[p]roviding a safe haven for refugees can be seen as a public good and this provides the rationale for policy coordination between governments. But where the volume of applications differs widely across countries, policy harmonization is not sufficient. Burden-sharing measures are needed as well, in order to achieve an optimal distribution of refugees across member states. Such policies are economically desirable and are more politically feasible than is sometimes believed.

In a press release, the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security in Malta said that “[u]pon approval, countries have to come forth and volunteer as places for disembarkation, and others who accept will participate in relocation. Finally, frontline countries who are under stress in view of migratory flows are not to be left alone.” David Sassoli, President of the European Paliament, believes that the agreement moved “in the direction outlined by the European Parliament.” He added that Europe should regulate the “redistribution of asylum seekers.”

Read Tim Hatton’s article Setting policy on asylum: Has the EU got it right?