Dublin regulation must be reformed – Minister Helena Dalli

“Dublin Regulation must be reformed in a way which achieves real balance between effective solidarity and responsibility for all.” This was stated by Minister for European Affairs and Equality, Helena Dalli, while addressing the General Affairs Council meeting of the European Union, in Luxembourg.

The meeting convened primarily to prepare for the European Council meeting that is scheduled for today and tomorrow.

The issue of migration is expected to dominate the agenda of the European Council meeting with diverging positions of other Member States on the issue.

Minister Dalli further remarked that, “the current Dublin Regulation is not functional. It results in disproportionate burden on a few Member States and frankly it portrayed the EU as a failure when we faced a crisis.” Minister Dalli highlighted the importance of stepping up the implementation of the Malta Declaration, on addressing the external dimension of migration. Minister Dalli stressed on the importance of strengthening the cooperation among all those concerned, so that smuggling networks are disrupted, thereby preventing people from risking their lives.

Whilst calling for innovative solutions to migration, Minister Helena Dalli underscored the importance to abide by international law on concepts such as regional disembarkation platforms.

Apart from the preparations of the European Council, the agenda of the General Affairs Council included the enlargement and stabilisation process for Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Malta fully supports the opening of accession negotiations on the basis of a strong recommendation from the European Commission and the Minister welcomed the unanimous conditional agreement reached in Council regarding the opening of negotiations with the two in the near future.

The Council also discussed the reasoned proposal of the European Commission on the rule of law in Poland.

Over lunch, Ministers held a discussion on the progress of work on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027. Minister Dalli stated that Malta can accept the notion of reaching an agreement on MFF before the European Parliament elections of 2019, depending on the result of the MFF. While welcoming the proposal, Minister Dalli emphasised that there are issues within the proposal that need to be addressed as all Member States have specific peculiarities. Minister Dalli also highlighted the need for the MFF to be flexible enough to address any issue that may arise in the future.

The Minister also participated in the General Affairs Council (Article 50) which prepared for the discussion amongst the Heads of State or Government at EU27 level on Friday, where conclusions are expected to be adopted. This discussion assessed the state of play of negotiations on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. This discussion took place on the basis of the joint statement issued by the EU and UK negotiators. Minister Dalli acknowledged the importance of accelerating efforts on the outstanding issues hindering the successful conclusion of the withdrawal agreement whilst at the same time ensuring that the Union and its institutions are prepared for all possible outcomes. The Minister also emphasized on the importance of the evolution clause in these conclusions through which the EU would leave the door open for a change in its positions should the U.K. change theirs.

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