In 2009 Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta adopted what is now commonly know at the Quattro Paper. This was a document highlighting these MS’ concerns with their asylum and migration situations, coupled with a list of recommendations primarily address to the EU. The paper was yet another concrete example of many joint efforts by the southern EU MS to put their challenges firmly on the EU agenda.
A few days ago, on 19th April, these same EU MS (now with the addition of Spain) adopted Joint Communiqué II. The communiqué comes after two meetings of the MS Home Affairs and Internal Security Ministers, on in Rome on 23rd February and the other in Nicosia on 19th April.
The 19th April Communiqué reiterates the MS concerns in relation to the flows of migrants and asylum-seekers reaching their territories. They highlight the fact that this has been exacerbated by the on-going conflicts in North Africa and the greater Middle East. Summarily, they reiterate the difficulties they face in dealing with these flows and underline the EU’s responsibility to to act on the basis of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility.
The MS ultimately include a number of recommendations, urging the EU to, inter alia:
- work on proposals to implement cooperation with the Southern Neighbourhood Region;
- speed up commencement of Frontex’s border-monitoring activities with Tunisia;
- strengthen Frontex through provision of increased human and technical resources and enhancement of its operation and coordinating role;
- finalise work on amending the Frontex Regulation;
- cooperate more effectively with countries of origin and of transit;
- agree on a revision of the Dublin II Regulation;
- provide access to increased financial support;
- devise a system of distribution o responsibilities.
One of the Communiqué recommendations relates directly to EASO, as follows:
“Deploy every available possibility by the European Asylum Support Office to offer practical support to the Member States of the Mediterranean Region in need. A permanent specialised mechanism should be set up through the EASO, which, at exceptional emergency situations, will provide Member States in need with the necessary logistical and technical support.”