By Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak
ANKARA (AA) Greece, Italy, Spain and Malta signed a joint memorandum stating their positions on the EU’s new Pact on Migration and Asylum, the Greek government announced on Wednesday.
The memorandum has been sent to the German chair of the European Council, Angela Merkel, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen by the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Italy’s Giuseppe Conte, Spain’s Pedro Sanchez and Malta’s Robert Abela.
“The four Prime Ministers of the countries of first entry emphasize that the rules must be clear not only in terms of the responsibilities of the countries of first entry, but also in terms of the rules of solidarity of the Member States, so that the responsibility is shared,” said the statement.
The four leaders also said border control procedures should not lead to the creation of large closed centers and stressed the importance for an effective return system.
The EU Commission unveiled a new migration and asylum plan on Sept. 23. that proposed “a fair balance of responsibility and solidarity among member states."
Under the proposal, National authorities and EU agencies would conduct pre-entry screenings at the bloc’s external borders, providing a quick preliminary decision if the asylum application could be accepted or the asylum-seeker needs to return.
The procedure would involve health and security checks, fingerprinting and registration in the EU’s asylum fingerprint database.
The pact also wants to strengthen the EU’s returns system by harmonizing the legal framework of expelling failed asylum-seekers and expand the role of EU authorities in the procedure.