BRUSSELS – The European Commission on Thursday called on the EU countries to "more solidarity" to distribute the reception of some fifty migrants rescued at sea by two NGOs and authorized to "shelter" temporarily in Maltese waters.
The EU executive "has contacted a number of Member States to find a solution for a rapid landing of people aboard" Sea-Watch 3 and Sea-Eye, two ships of NGOs, said a spokesperson.
"Greater solidarity from all member states is needed and the situation shows once again that it is urgent to find predictable and sustainable solutions," she said.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, the Commissioner for Migration, "calls on member states to lend their support and contribution to this joint effort to safely land the people on board," she continued.
The authorities of Valletta have agreed to house two German NGO ships carrying Maltese migrants in the Mediterranean in the waters of Malta due to the deterioration of the conditions on board, the Maltese Navy said on Wednesday.
The first of these ships, the Sea-Watch 3, which is flying the flag of the Netherlands, has been sailing since 22 December, waiting to enter a port. He has on board 32 migrants – including three young children, three unaccompanied adolescents and four women – from Nigeria, Libya and Côte d'Ivoire.
Italy, Malta and Spain refused to receive the migrants rescued by this ship. But the Netherlands said Wednesday ready to host a portion "provided that other European countries do the same."
Germany also indicated that it would not accept these migrants unless it was shared with other European countries.
A ship from another German NGO, Sea-Eye, also still at sea with 17 people on board, was also allowed to take shelter in Maltese waters.
A total of 2,262 migrants died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean in 2018, while 113,482 people arrived in Europe by sea, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).