Germany, France, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom have requested the European Commission to submit a proposal for the implementation of a number of actions, which they consider should be a priority to respond to migration in the Mediterranean.

The five Member States affirm that it is essential for the EU to intensify the surveillance of its external borders and ask for the Italian search and rescue operation Mare Nostrum, which has rescued more than 100,000 people this year, to be replaced by a Frontex operation. According to the French Ministry of Interior, the operation should take place close to the European coasts.

The EU’s cooperation with countries of origin and transit should be reinforced to contribute to a decrease in departures of migrants from these countries and to counter migrant smuggling networks. According to this group of States, these measures should be supported by information campaigns in the countries of transit and origin showing the risks of irregular migration via the Mediterranean.

The five governments stress that all migrants crossing the EU external borders irregularly must be identified and registered in the Eurodac database of fingerprints that enables the functioning of the Dublin system. The countries call on the European Commission to examine models for the temporary distribution of recognized refugees in other Member States on a voluntary basis.

The governments also underlined the need to enhance the implementation of a common returns policy.

The States do not make any reference to the need to create and expand channels for refugees to reach Europe in a legal and safe way.

In a letter sent yesterday to the European Commission, Swiss Minister Simonetta Swiss Sommaruga supported the initiative by Germany, France, Poland, Spain and the UK.


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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 19 September 2014. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.