Metsola calls on European leaders to reform Dublin System

The Nationalist MEP said that a European Council summit to be held at the end of June was the last chance to change the system to implement shared responsibility among member states

Metsola chaired a meeting with the European Parliament president, Bulgarian presidency and European Commissioner Avramopolous in wake of the Aquarius standoff in the Mediterranean
Metsola chaired a meeting with the European Parliament president, Bulgarian presidency and European Commissioner Avramopolous in wake of the Aquarius standoff in the Mediterranean

Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola has said that the EU must reform the Dublin System to one that sees responsibility on migration shared between all member states.

Metsola was chosen to chair a high-level meeting with the Bulgarian Presidency, EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopolous and European Parliament president Antonio Tajani on Tuesday morning to demand EU action on migration.

The meeting was held in wake of the standoff between Malta and Italy concerning the rescue vessel Aquarius, currently unfolding in the Mediterranean.

“There is a European Council summit being held at the end of June, this is the last chance that Prime Ministers have to reform the Dublin System, to one that shares responsibility between Member States,” Metsola was quoted saying.

“This is not a time for populism but for concrete action, human lives are again at stake and Prime Ministers must act or we will end up in this situation again and again.”

In a statement, the MEP said she was honoured to be chairing the meeting of three major EU institutions, adding there was agreement across political lines that the EU simply could not wait any longer before taking action.

“The most important element is the reform of the Dublin Regulation and this is now on the Prime Ministers’ laps. They must act, even if this is by a vote rather than by consensus,” Metsola said.

She stressed that countries using their geographic location to “exonerate themselves” from responsibility should be “held to account”. “We do not need unanimity on this point. We need EU action.”

Metsola said that the EU’s response to migration was the real litmus test of European values and that a new system should prioritise solidarity among member states.

“We need to eliminate the business model used by traffickers to exploit the voiceless,” she added. “We need to look at having asylum experts in our representation offices around the globe. Of course we cannot bury our heads in the sand on security. Fears do exist among our citizens and states must fulfill their obligations at the external borders if theses fears are to be in any way allayed.”

As regards Africa, Metsola called for a long-term strategy that moves away from simple aid to “a sound system of encouraging private investment in Africa” that gives people a chance at a future without fear.

“And we have to return those who are not eligible for protection back – that is the only way our citizens will have any sort of confidence in our approach.” 

More in Europe

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe