Prime Minister Robert Abela has shared Malta’s concerns on migration and insisted on the need for automatic relocation of migrants rescued in the Mediterranean during a meeting with Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative.
Abela told Borrell he considered the EU’s current approach to migration as “a failure” and pointed out the substantial pressure being placed on Malta with the current situation, remarking the lack of solidarity shown by the EU.
The two, met at Castille yesterday, as 52 migrants remain stranded on an livestock boat in Maltese waters.
Abela insisted that despite the nearest safest port being Italy, the Italian Government refused to allow entry to these migrants, placing Malta in an uncomfortable situation. “The main point of departure here is that this is a humanitarian issue. But why should Malta be pressured in allowing these migrants to enter our shores when the nearest port of call [when they were rescued] was Italy?” argued the Prime Minister.
From his end, Josep Borrell acknowledged that Malta had been facing problems when it came to migration.
“Malta is playing an important role in the crossroads of two of the big problems we face today – Libya and Turkey – and I know you have a good relationship there”.
“I know you are facing problems with migration. You are a crowded island, and I know 200 migrants constitute a burden, so I hope member states show solidarity and share the burden.”
Borrell expressed his commitment at finding a “permanent solution” to the migration issue. “We have to solve the problem from its roots. The problem related to instability in the East Mediterranean and to African development. We have to attack these two problems and solve them, or else we will keep experiencing the migration problem, with all the suffering that it represents.”
He acknowledged the difficulties in achieving a deal but indicated that progress had been made.
Read more via Maltatoday