The number of migrants in Malta has increased this year: about 1,135 people arrived in March, up from 136 in 2019, according to the United Nations. The text of the agreement has not been published, but Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said he was « moderately optimistic » that there would be an increase in the « chances » of reaching an agreement on reforming the EU`s asylum policy. Nearly 200 Nigerian migrants repatriated from South Africa as a result of xenophobic violence The declaration first addresses the most urgent issue, at least as far as the « political emergency » and as a point of disagreement between states: where can migrants rescued at sea be evacuated? This issue, which is closely linked to the concepts of « safe place » or « safe harbor » for the disembarkation of rescued persons is the subject of debate under international law (see a previous article on this blog), as a number of factors, including the stratification of complex legal orders related to rescue and assistance obligations in the case of persons at sea , include the elderly and customary law of the sea and many international conventions (No. 2.1.10 of the International Convention on Research at Sea and Rescue (SAR), Article 98, paragraph 1, of UNCLOS, Regulation 33 of the SOLAS Convention, amended in 2004), is often supplemented by flexible law instruments (such as MSC Resolution 167 (78) on guidelines for the treatment of people rescued at sea) – and lack of coherence different practices and approaches of States in this area (for an overview of legal complexity and development, see here and here; for a discussion of the rights and duties of ship`s masters under international law). here;). In addition to a mix of recurrent and rhetorical general objectives – prevention of human life at sea, combating migrant trafficking, reducing irregular migration, improving rapid return – the preamble cites the concrete justification of the « agreement » in addressing « uncertainties regarding the rapid landing, reception and relocation of the edges ». The United Nations says Libya is not a safe haven because of the long-running conflict and has previously said it violates international law to force refugees by boat to return to the country. During talks in Malta, the interior ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Malta and Finland decided to share among their five countries the migrants who want to cross Libya`s deadliest migration route to Europe and who are being pulled from the sea by rescuers. Part of the uncertainty surrounding the Malta Declaration lies in a modus operandi that has characterized many of the recent migration measures taken by EU institutions and Member States. The replacement of laws with a permanent political « declaration of intent » which is not accompanied by follow-up is to the detriment of migrants, some of whom die at sea. More uncertainties related to the functioning of the mechanism: the criteria for disembarkation and relocation are too vague, general and unenforceable, as they are de facto degraded into opaque negotiations between national authorities, raising doubts about the principle of the rule of law. The need not to address the need for a fully operational EU-wide saR system and to cooperate with Libya is a major problem. In the absence of an appropriate implementation framework, developed within the framework of a legitimate, transparent and EU-led decision-making process, the Malta Declaration will be part of the already long list of EU actions, which are innumerable in the history of European legal responses to travel on the dignity of migrants in the Mediterranean.