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"People are entitled to apply for asylum"

9 July 2013

Vessel with boat migrants being intercepted by coast guard, November 2009. Photo: UNHCR/A. Rodríguez

Responding to recent statements by the Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström issued a statement Tuesday.
"I have learnt with great concern the statements from the Maltese Prime Minister about the possibility to send back persons recently arrived to Malta", Malmström said.

She continued:

"I would like to stress that according to EU and international obligations, all people arriving in the EU territory are entitled to file an asylum request and to have a proper assessment of their situation. Any return operation has to respect in full these obligations and in particular the principle of non-refoulement inscribed in the EU law and in the International Conventions. The European Commission will use all the tools at its disposal to make sure Member States fully respect their obligations in this regard. We also stand ready to increase our support to Malta if it should face growing migratory pressure. Should Maltese authorities ask for it, we are ready to engage in discussions on further measures, be it financial support or assistance through the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and Frontex."



Article in Malta Independent with statements by the Prime Minister. More info on the common EU rules on asylum can be found here.

Times of Malta: Brussels warns Malta that push-backs are illegal