efe-epaMadrid

The Spanish and French governments on Thursday here agreed that Spain will host a regional meeting of European and African countries aimed at dealing with migration matters.

The willingness to hold this summit was noted in a joint declaration on the challenge of immigration and asylum facing Europe, a document signed at the meeting in Madrid between Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The two nations declared that they share the same strategy to "respond with humanity and efficiency to the arrival in Europe of refugees and migrants."

The two governments also stated their joint intention to strengthen Frontex, the European Union's border agency, with additional personnel, resources and legal tools to protect borders and facilitate the repatriation of migrants who don't qualify for asylum.

Regarding people rescued in the Mediterranean Sea by NGOs, France and Spain support the "disembarkation platforms" proposed by the European Commission to develop new tools along with the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Refugee Agency.

They also want to give priority to the "receiving and treatment" of emigrants according to the principles of responsibility and solidarity.

Sanchez and Macron cited the case of the vessel Aquarius as an "example of European solidarity," proposing a "temporary mechanism" inspired by the voluntary cooperation between countries.

The Aquarius, a rescue vessel belonging to German NGO SOS Mediterranean, arrived in Spain on June 17 with 630 migrants on board after Italy and Malta refused to allow the ship to dock.

After the vessel changed course and set sail for Spain, France offered to receive any of the migrants who expressed an interest in going there and dozens of them were later transported to French territory.