The European Commission should help member states repatriate migrants who have been refused humanitarian protection but whose country of origin makes their return difficult, MEP Miriam Dalli has insisted.
Dalli made the suggestion during a meeting she held with EU migration commissioner Ylva Johansson on Monday afternoon.
Johansson told the Maltese MEP, who also serves as vice-president of the S&D political grouping, that the EU would be using all its political tools to get third countries to cooperate and ensure returns occurred swiftly and efficiently.
Migrants whose asylum applications are rejected often end up in a form of legal limbo, as countries have no means of returning them to their countries and find little cooperation to do so from migrants' home governments.
Dalli used her meeting with Johansson to emphasise the need for the EU to do more to help countries on Europe’s southern border, which are facing the brunt of a migration crisis with little help from their northern neighbours.
Two weeks ago, Malta and Italy both said they would no longer be accepting any migrants rescued at sea, citing the coronavirus pandemic as a reason. The EU responded by saying it had no authority in the matter and that deciding where to disembark migrants was a matter for member states.
Malta’s government has since urged the EU to launch a humanitarian mission to Libya, to provide people in the war-wrecked country with an alternative to fleeing to Europe.
Dalli told Johansson that a “densely populated country with oversaturated capacities like Malta,” had no chance of managing migration flows to Europe alone.
She noted that while the European Commission often coordinated relocation efforts, in reality, few of the pledges made by other member countries came to fruition.
Johansson said that the situation in Libya was high on the agenda and referred to a number of discussions held with the Maltese authorities. She said the Commission was also working on providing funds to address migratory routes from Libya and expressed hope that a new migration pact would provide the necessary “political momentum” to bring Member States back to the table.
The EU was also developing an action plan to combat human trafficking, Johansson added.