A plan put forward by Germany and France to establish a mechanism to take in irregular migrants who arrive in the European Union has been rejected by Spain. Madrid voiced its objection to the idea because it would be limited to migrants who arrive in Italy or Malta, and would not include Spain.
“Spain has no objection to temporary agreements, providing that they apply to the entire Mediterranean,” said Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska on February 7 during an informal meeting with his EU counterparts in Bucharest, according to sources familiar with the talks.
As reported by Spain’s daily newspaper El País, there is a sense of weariness among Spanish lawmakers over the attitude of Italy, which has essentially closed its borders to irregular migrants, as well as the feeling that solidarity with Spain in terms of it coping with the influx of arrivals is limited among fellow EU member states.
The French-German plan involved a temporary solution, based on a mechanism for sharing out the migrants arriving from Libya. The participation in such a mechanism would be voluntary, and a handful of countries – the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania among others – as well as those who would benefit – Italy and Malta – appear willing to back the proposal.
According to the daily, Spain considers it unfair that the plan is designed to alleviate the migratory pressure on Italy and Malta, two countries that are refusing to comply with their international obligations.
“Spain rescues [migrants] because it is obliged to do so,” said Grande-Marlaska, as a clear reproach to those unwilling to do their part.