Malta agreement marks EU step towards human decency on migration?

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) says the agreement of the Interior Ministers of France, Germany, Italy and Malta on a proposed voluntary scheme to relocate across the EU migrants rescued at sea is a step towards human decency in EU migration policy, albeit one fraught with difficulties.  

“A sensible and decent plan for at least rescuing and hosting migrants who cross the sea to escape conflict and extreme poverty is desperately needed” said Ludovic Voet, ETUC Confederal Secretary. “The willingness of France and Germany to help promote a solution is encouraging.

“Yesterday’s four country agreement is a step towards human decency but is fraught with difficulties as other EU countries need to come on board.  You can’t have a relocation scheme with only four EU member states. We know very well who is likely to refuse to cooperate, but we have to convince a majority to show responsibility.

“In the longer run what the EU really needs to do is to put an end to perilous journeys across the Mediterranean by creating legal channels for migration. This would stop the traffickers’ evil business.   

“The EU and member states also need to invest much more in the integration of migrants into society and the labour market, so their skills and desire to create a better life can benefit not only themselves but Europe as a whole.”