"We fully endorse the EP's Recommendation to the Council on the negotiations for a Framework Agreement with Libya, as adopted today by the Plenary in Strasbourg", said Ioannis Kasoulides MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group and Shadow Rapporteur.
"In the preceding negotiations with the other political Groups, we insisted and ensured that a readmission agreement with Libya is an indispensable part of the ongoing Framework Agreement negotiations. This is clearly reflected in the adopted Recommendation and is fully in line with the Council conclusions of June 2009 that prioritised the conclusion of readmission agreements with Libya and Turkey", Mr Kasoulides added.
The Recommendation underlines that any readmission agreement with the country should automatically exclude asylum seekers, refugees or people in need of protection. It also reiterates that the principle of 'non-refoulement' applies to everybody.
The EPP Group Vice-Chairman explained how crucial this re-admission agreement is for countries like Italy and Malta, which are facing big flows of irregular migration. "Massive illegal immigration in Malta risks altering its demographic composition. Although shared responsibility is recognised by all, little is done in practice to correct this development", stressed Mr Kasoulides at the Plenary discussion in Strasbourg. "Τhe numbers of arrivals in Malta decreased only when Italy, equally affected, reached a bilateral agreement with Libya, when the latter undertook responsibility to patrol its shores and harbours", Mr Kasoulides underlined.
The Cypriot MEP expressed clear support for the Commission's efforts and commended the agreement signed in October 2010 by Commissioners Malmström and Füle and the Libyan authorities on a Migration Cooperation Agenda. "This is essential to prepare Libya on issues like the protection system for asylum seekers, management of land borders, alignment of legislation with the African Convention on Refugees and management of migratory flows", Kasoulides concluded.