Mogherini proposes new policy to end practice of migrant disembarkations in Italy

New policy will allow relevant rescue coordination centres to decide where rescued migrants are to be disembarked

Rescued migrants and asylum seekers aboard an AFM patrol boat relieved to have survived the treacherous Mediterranean crossing, in August 2018
Rescued migrants and asylum seekers aboard an AFM patrol boat relieved to have survived the treacherous Mediterranean crossing, in August 2018

Italian newspapers have reported that the EU’s external action service has proposed that it will be national rescue centres to decide where boat migrants will be disembarked once they are saved at sea.

The European External Action Service, which is run by the EU’s foreign minister Federica Mogherini, presented a proposal to the European Council’s Political and Security Committee to change EUNAVFOR MED’s disembarkation practices.

EUNAVFOR MED’s current mandate Sophia expires in December.

The proposed change would allow the relevant Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) to decide where rescued migrants are to be disembarked and would require new criteria to be considered, including the circumstances of the rescue, the need for EUNAVFOR MED vessels to resume their mission, and principles of efficiency and speed.

As a last resort, the proposal would require the country of the MRCC to make available one of its ports for disembarkation, provided that an immediate screening of migrants is organized and an expeditious redistribution of disembarked asylum seekers to other states occurs.

The solution would apparently resolve the problematic aspect of having a “host country” to the EU mission receiving all the migrants rescued at sea, in this case Italy.

But a host of EU countries want a more far-reaching solution, some still insisting on regional disembarkation platforms located outside the EU’s borders so that asylum seekers could be properly screened before granted access.

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