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Parliamentary questions
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13 June 2020
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 138
Erik Marquardt (Verts/ALE)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Floating illegal detention centres in Malta

After Malta closed its ports to people rescued at sea, more than 400 people fleeing war-torn Libya were detained aboard vessels chartered by the Government, just outside Maltese territorial waters. They had no access to asylum procedures and no contact with monitoring bodies, journalists or lawyers. They were not informed about how long and why they were being detained. As a result of political pressure, the Maltese government finally allowed the people to disembark after weeks aboard.

I appreciate that the Commission rejected Malta’s request to finance the floating detention centres, and offered support for the relocation of these people to other Member States. However, I would like to know:

1. Is the Commission of the opinion that a lack of solidarity in the EU absolves Malta from the obligation to comply with EU law?

2. What will the Commission do to ensure that these serious violations of EU asylum law and fundamental rights by Malta do not go unpunished?

3. What action will the Commission take to ensure that Malta grants access to asylum procedures provided for by EU law, and that the practice of floating detention is not repeated?

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