The Malta Independent 20 December 2014, Saturday

Sweden can have our migrants, Muscat suggests

Malta Independent Friday, 5 July 2013, 11:46 Last update: about 7 months ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat this morning insisted that he will “definitely consider” using the veto to push the European Union into helping Malta deal with its irregular migration problem.

Answering questions by journalists during his visit to the MFSA offices, Dr Muscat said that he will use all the possible tools to obtain EU assistance on the matter.

The EU found mechanisms with which to help countries face their financial problems; it could therefore act in the same way to help Malta tackle the immigration problem it is facing.

In reply to remarks made by Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom that the migration numbers Malta is facing are not extraordinary, Dr Muscat said: “If she thinks the figures are not alarming, she can propose the Swedish government to take migrants”.  

Asked by The Malta Independent whether the EU may think such statements are too harsh and consequently sideline Malta, Dr Muscat said Malta has been sidelined and the statements being made are to get the EU’s attention that there is a problem. This is an early warning because we will soon arrive at a stage where we wouldn’t be able to take more.

Dr Muscat highlighted Malta is discussing ideas with European Council president Herman Van Rompuy. So far, there has only been a pilot project that was suspended: This is definitely not enough he believes.

Libya needs to be assisted more to combat migration from the south and from Syria.

With regard to considering push backs, he noted that decisions will be taken in the best interests of our islands.

“If push backs are necessary, they will be used,” he stated. “The island cannot be taken for granted: We have a problem”.

Discussing the latest arrival of 300 migrants, in particular circumstances since according to reports, these had fled a Libya prison and had been shot at, Dr Muscat said Malta acted in a humanitarian way as the sinking boat included people who were injured, children and pregnant women. Malta would definitely not have left them to drown. 

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