The European Commission presented a ten point action plan on migration, in response to the crisis situation in the Mediterranean, at an emergency meeting of EU Interior and Foreign Affairs yesterday. Both the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, and the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald attended the meeting.
Minister Fitzgerald stated that Ireland will play its part in response to the situation and will take in additional refugees. In 2014, Ireland resettled 96 persons under the Irish Resettlement Programme.
The UNHCR has called for urgent action to address the crisis. A further meeting of EU leaders on the response to the situation in the Mediterranean will take place on 23 April 2015. Irish NGOs are recommending the immediate re-instatement of search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.
Ten point Action Plan on Migration:
- Reinforce the Joint Operations, Triton and Poseidon, in the Mediterranean. Extend the operational area, allowing further intervention, within the mandate of Frontex;
- A systematic effort to capture and destroy vessels used by the smugglers;
- EUROPOL, FRONTEX, EASO and EUROJUST will meet regularly and work closely to gather information on smugglers modus operandi, to trace their funds and to assist in their investigation;
- EASO to deploy teams in Italy and Greece for joint processing of asylum applications;
- Member States to ensure fingerprinting of all migrants;
- Consider options for an emergency relocation mechanism;
- A EU wide voluntary pilot project on resettlement, offering a number of places to persons in need of protection;
- Establish a new return programme for rapid return of irregular migrants coordinated by Frontex from frontline Member States;
- Engagement with countries surrounding Libya through a joined effort between the Commission and the EEAS; initiatives in Niger have to be stepped up;
- Deploy Immigration Liaison Officers (ILO) in key third countries, to gather intelligence on migratory flows and strengthen the role of the EU Delegations.
For further information:
- European Commission – Press release
- Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Department of Justice and Equality – Press release
- UNHCR – Press release
- Immigrant Council of Ireland – Press statement
- Irish Refugee Council and Migrant Rights Centre – Joint media statement