Nationalist MEP Simon Busuttil yesterday spelled out a formula based on factors such as size and wealth, by which EU member states could share the burden of asylum seekers.

He was speaking during a debate organised by the office of the European Parliament in Malta, in which he explained his proposed roadmap towards solidarity and burden sharing.

His proposal was recently adopted in a resolution approved by the European Parliament.

It speaks of a “distribution key” to relocate beneficiaries of inter­national protection, which would be based on member states’ reception and integration capacities including GDP, population and surface area. It would also take into consideration the beneficiaries’ best interests and integration prospects.

Dr Busuttil said the Parliament was proposing that the distri­bution key could apply during emergency situations or to countries like Malta that were facing disproportionate pressures on their national asylum systems.

He warned that the proposal was only a long shot for now and would be “politically difficult to achieve” due to the resistance by several member states to the concept of burden sharing.

But to achieve results it was important to dream, he added.

Many in the audience expressed anti-migration sentiments and he reminded them that until a few years ago solidarity in the EU was almost non-existent.

Slowly but surely the European Parliament was making its presence felt and member states had started to be more responsive.

“I am the first to say that many member states are not living up to their promises on solidarity. But thanks to our pushing and pressure we are getting more and more results,” the MEP said.

Cypriot MEP Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, who is a rapporteur to the Parliament on this dossier, said Dr Busuttil lobbied intensely in Brussels to put solidarity on the EP’s agenda. The Parliament, he said, was now expecting the EU executive to include a permanent intra-EU solidarity programme in its upcoming legislative proposals in the field of asylum.

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