Leaders from Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and Malta have begged on their northern European counterparts to help carry the burden following a meeting in Madrid – claiming that the Mediterranean Sea is “under extreme migratory pressure”.
The joint statement said: “EU migration policy must be based on shared responsibility and solidarity with those countries affected by migratory pressure due to their geographical location at the external borders of the Union.”
Seven southern EU leaders met to discuss the migrant crisis
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy claimed the common migration policy was a top priority for the southern EU alliance, with Italian leader Paolo Gentiloni echoing his views.
Mr Gentiloni said all seven countries share “common geopolitical interests” in terms of “migrant flows”.
The group wants to bolster Brussels’ strategy on migration – including on cooperation with countries of origin, movement and destination; moving back irregular migrants and strengthening the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).
EU migration policy must be based on shared responsibility
We’re the countries that spend the most resources… in border protection
Spain’s secretary of state Jorge Toledo told Politico that prioritising a common EU policy and making the northern nations pay was high on their agenda.
Mr Toledo said: “We’re the countries that spend the most resources… in border protection.
He added: “And we’re protecting the border of the whole EU, also that of the northern European countries.”
Malta’s prime minister Joseph Muscat labelled the gaggle of EU nations as the “most pro-European” of all informal groups from the crumbling superstate.
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Powerful images as migrants protest in Hungary
Tue, April 4, 2017
Migrants protest outside Budapest's Keleti Railway Station after it was closed off by police to prevent people travelling on to western Europe
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A migrant taunts Hungarian riot police as they fire tear gas and water cannon on the Serbian side of the border, near Roszke
The meeting comes ahead of the the European Council Brexit summit, set for for April 29.
The seven European leaders dined at the El Pardo royal palace on the edge of the Spanish capital before appearing talking to journalists – however none of them answered questions.
The EU does provide some funding towards reinforcing borders, yet national boundaries are mostly paid for by national governments.
Gentiloni said all seven countries share 'common geopolitical interests' in terms of migrant flo
Frontex, the EU's newly launched border guard, has the ability to now suggest a border is taken over and controlled by the EU.
The sprawling superstate’s migrant policy has come under fire from Austria, after the central European state begged to be pulled out of the bloc’s mandatory refugee resettlement programme.
Austria accepted around 90,000 refugees in 2015 and was granted a reprieve from taking in more asylum seekers – however that exemption ran out on March 11 this year.