France welcomes "exceptional" move on migrants

Migration policy – Franco-Maltese initiative on the Aquarius – Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic

Paris, 14 August 2018

On the initiative of Malta and France, several European Union member states – Spain, Portugal, Germany and Luxembourg – have agreed to allow the swift and safe disembarkation of the people rescued at sea by the Aquarius and the implementation of effective solidarity in taking in people needing protection.

France welcomes Malta’s exceptional humanitarian gesture and the effort of solidarity by the partners engaged in this concrete European solution which our country has made possible for more than 250 exiled people rescued at sea. The OFPRA [French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons] will be on the ground in the coming days to take in 60 people needing protection. This solution was found on an ad-hoc and voluntary basis, in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity, in line with the cooperative European approach we have constantly advocated. The solution adopted is in keeping with European cooperation, the law of the sea and humanitarian principles.

The decision was taken once again in the context of a humanitarian emergency, and it shows the importance of a long-term, sustainable mechanism for preventing repeated crises, in the context of reduced flows of illegal migrants in the central Mediterranean. France, together with its partners, will make proposals in the coming weeks for the implementation of an effective response so that everyone shoulders their responsibilities in terms of rescue, disembarkation and solidarity./.

Published on 15/08/2018

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