Answer given by Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the European Commission
The objective of regional disembarkation arrangements is to establish predictable disembarkation and post-disembarkation procedures in line with international law.
The Commission has engaged with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to explore how regional disembarkation arrangements could best be taken forward. In July 2018, the Commission participated in an international roundtable on search and rescue and disembarkation in the Mediterranean organised by the United Nations in Geneva, which brought together relevant international organisations and States with an access to the Mediterranean Sea. This roundtable provided a platform to reflect jointly on how to address the current challenges around search and rescue operations and the need to save lives in the Mediterranean. So far, no such disembarkation arrangement is in place with any third country.
The Commission, in its communication of 4 December 2018, proposed temporary arrangements as an immediate coordinated approach to disembarkation and other situations of particular migratory pressure in the EU. Establishing temporary arrangements would demonstrate solidarity and responsibility-sharing among EU Member States and further facilitate cooperation with regional partners.
Alongside these measures, the EU continues engaging with partners around the Mediterranean, in close cooperation with UNHCR and IOM, supporting them in their efforts at putting in place a comprehensive approach to migration management and their fulfilment of already existing international obligations.