Rome, Aug 2 (IANS/AKI) The European Union must take a fresh look at the relocation of migrants arriving in Italy and other “front line” states, European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen said during a visit here on Friday.
“It is certainly necessary to review the concept of sub-dividing and redistributing the burden.
“We want our procedures to be effective and efficient,” von der Leyen told reporters, admitting that the task “was not easy”.
“We have all realised that there are no easy solutions or less still answers, above all when it comes to burden-sharing,” she said, noting that due to their geography, countries like Italy, Greece and Spain are more “exposed and on the front line” regarding migration.
“We have to take this fact into account,” she said, adding that she wanted to propose a new migration “pact”.
“If we work together, we will certainly find solutions in future,” von der Leyen underlined.
Italy and Malta – also a front line country for boat migrants – have been pressuring other EU states to shoulder a fairer share of the Mediterranean migrant burden. So far the two countries have had limited success in getting the 28-member bloc to agree a formal mechanism to relocate asylum-seekers.
A series off controversial standoffs in the Mediterranean over the past year have seen hundreds of migrants stranded aboard rescue ships until other European countries and on occasions Italy’s Catholic Church agreed to step in and take some.