A plea for EU states to show solidarity with Malta following the recent influx of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers was made at the Justice and Home Affairs Council today by Justice Minister Chris Said.

Dr Said said that out of the 832 persons who have already reached Malta by sea this year, 712 arrived in the five weeks before today's meeting.

More arrivals, he said, were expected as the weather continued to improve.

Dr Said explained that the impact of 832 illegal immigrants on Malta was equivalent to 440,000 in Germany or 65,500 in the Netherlands, using comparative figures based on population, land area and Gross Domestic Product.

Malta called on member states to assist with the relocation of beneficiaries of international protection from Malta immediately.

It said that in the medium term, the Commission should review the Dublin convention, to ensure that it ceased to impose disproportionate pressure on Malta and to review the Temporary Protection Directive which proved ineffective in light of the realities being faced.

Malta also insisted that the EU must engage with Libya and assist the Libyan authorities to develop their border management capacities. The country also called for the dialogue on migration, mobility and security with Libya to be launched as soon as possible.

During the debate, Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said the Commission understood Malta's concerns and its vulnerability and it was ready to assist.

She called on member states to pledge more relocation places for beneficiaries of international protection from Malta and said the Commission would work with the Maltese authorities to draw up a package of assistance which could include more financing and increased support by different EU agencies.

Malta's delegation was led by Dr Said, Minister who was accompanied by Malta's Permanent Representative to the European Union Richard Cachia Caruana and home affairs permanent secretary Mario Debattista.

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