The EU’s migration plans should focus on the Eastern Mediterranean, not just Italy and Malta, three EU countries will say this week.
In a document, seen by POLITICO, that will be presented at a meeting of EU interior ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday, Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria complain that “in recent months the attention of EU Member States has been mainly focused on the Central Mediterranean, which has been thoroughly discussed at three ministerial meetings [in Helsinki, Paris and Valletta].”
At Tuesday’s meeting, the interior ministers will discuss a deal reached last month by Germany, France, Italy and Malta for a voluntary temporary relocation mechanism for asylum seekers rescued in the Central Mediterranean. Those four countries would like other member states to sign up to the scheme they drew up in Malta, and see it as first step toward a more comprehensive EU migration pact.
While they don’t mention the Malta deal in their document, Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria say the “latest figures verify that the biggest challenge Europe is faced with comes from the Eastern Mediterranean route.” They call for “an effective mechanism for relocation of persons arriving to front-line Member States along all migratory routes, when their capacity is either exhausted or overstretched.