Eight European countries to work with Tunisia on central Mediterranean migration issues
High-level contact group established at Rome conference
Home Affairs ministers from seven EU member states, Switzerland and Tunisia have agreed to increase coordination and exchange more information in the management of migration flows through the central Mediterranean.
The newly-established contact group will see Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Malta, Slovenia, Switzerland and Tunisia work together to address challenges posed by increased migration flows along the central Mediterranean route. The group will also include EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini and Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.
Agreement was reached during a conference held in Rome which was also attended by Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord of Libya Fayez al-Sarraj, and by the Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.
"Countries of origin and transit should be considered part of the solution, not of the problem, if we want to achieve tangible results," Maltese Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela said, adding that the contact group would complement already existing efforts at EU-Africa cooperation on migration issues.
He took the opportunity to remind EU member states to step up their efforts to fulfil commitments they made in September 2015 to ease pressure on Greece and Italy by relocating 160,000 people in clear need of international protection by September of this year.
Following the meeting, Dr Abela held a bilateral meeting with his Italian counterpart Marco Minniti.