The European Commissioner responsible for home affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom, this evening called on all EU member states to show active solidarity in the resettlement of migrants deserving of protection.

In an exclusive recorded message to TimesTalk, a production on TVM by Times of Malta, the Commissioner referred to plans for an expanded Frontex surveillance and rescue operation by Frontex and said she hoped Malta would participate.

She said that the migrant tragedies which happened last week were a European challenge were deserved a European response.

The issue, she said, would feature on the agenda on the next EU heads of government meeting, and that should be an opportunity for European leaders to show solidarity and mutual support.

More could be done by EU member states, she said, including opening up the challenges for regular migration to discourage irregular flows.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said yesterday that Malta was being cautious about the plans to expand the Frontex operation and wanted precise information on the destination of migrants after rescue.

During the programme, Parliamentary Secretary Owen Bonnici said one proposal being made by Malta was that once an application for asylum or protection was made by a migrant, it would be handled by a central European body and not the country which originally received the migrant, as at present.

"In this way, Malta will not shoulder the burden alone."

He described Ms Malmstrom's comments on opening up channels as 'interesting', giving would-me migrants the opportunity to travel legally to Europe while patrols discouraged illegal people-trafficking.

Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola suggested that migrants should be able to apply for asylum outside the EU, thus avoiding the need to make a dangerous sea voyage.

Human rights lawyer Neil Falzon said Malta and other EU countries were not exploiting the positive aspects of the Dublin II agreement. For example, in terms of the agreement, Malta could help migrants who arrived here to join members of their family in other countries.

See the message in full on the video above. Join the conversation: or twitter @TimesTalk


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