Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has called for a united European front against irregular immigration during a visit to Malta.
Samaras met with Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to discuss the issue in the wake of the recent disasters involving migrants trying to reach southern Europe.
“There can be no magic solution but this is not an issue that can left to fate,” he said. “Nor can we simply hope that winter is coming and there won’t be more arrivals.”
Samaras also spoke of Greece’s effort to achieve its fiscal consolidation and, at one point, linked this to the issue of immigration.
“Greece has a big problem with unemployment,” he said. “We have as many unemployed people as we have illegal immigrants. This can’t continue.”
Greece and Malta will be pushing for «sharing of responsibilities», rather than burden sharing, Samaras and Muscat said.
“This meeting will not be about victories but about wordings and conclusions,” said the Maltese prime minister. “I will not be happy with a change of word here and there which may not mean anything. We will gauge the actual political willingness to change the status quo.”
The two leaders spoke of a “coherent returns policy.” According to Malta Today, Muscat explained that as from the next multiannual financial framework, it would be up to Frontex to coordinate flights for those migrants whose asylum request would be rejected and would therefore be repatriated.
Samaras was due to travel to Rome after Malta to meet Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta to discuss immigration and other issues.