South Europe demands North to pay its migration bill
13 April, 2017
The leaders of seven Southern EU countries demanded on 10 April a common “comprehensive” European policy - and the funds required to implement it, to tackle migration from Africa and warned that the Mediterranean Sea is “under extreme migratory pressure”. The heads of state and government of Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and Malta pushed forward the demand in a joint statement after they met in Madrid during the third informal summit of the Southern EU countries.
“EU migration policy must be based on shared responsibility and solidarity with those countries affected by migratory pressure due to their geographical location at the external borders of the Union,” the statement said.
The seven countries have common interests on issues like immigration and border control - all but Portugal have a Mediterranean frontier, and fisheries and agriculture. The statement envisions strengthening a common EU strategy on migration involving cooperation with countries of origin, transit and destination; fostering the readmission of irregular migrants; and expanding the use of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).
The Southern EU countries also pushed for more economic integration and investment policies that can tackle the problem of unemployment in the region, especially among youth. Finally, the leaders also advocated for more integration in terms of security.
“We want the EU to become a real security and defence provider, a credible force to counter our security challenges,” the statement said.