The Malta Independent 18 October 2018, Thursday

Watch: PM will wait for new Italian government to form prior to discussing migration concerns

Julian Bonnici Tuesday, 15 May 2018, 16:28 Last update: about 5 months ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he will wait and see how the political situation in Italy develops after concerns regarding the influx of migrants in Malta have been raised after two populist and anti-immigration parties appear to be close to forming a coalition government.

Matteo Salvini, the leader of the right-wing party ‘Lega’ (The League), and his counterpart at the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), Luigi Di Maio, appear to be close to concluding negotiations which will surely see the Italian government make a decisive break from the centrist policies employed by previous administrations.

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Both parties have led a strong anti-immigration platform, which would appear to be a cornerstone of their possible coalition’s policies with Di Mao saying that they have been able to make considerable steps forwards on issues such as tougher laws on immigration, reform of pensions, a flat tax and a universal basic income.

Silvio Berlusconi, who has close ties to the League, which was part of a coalition with Forza Italia for the election campaign, previously said that migrants saved in the Mediterranean will also be made to disembark in Malta, and not just Italy, as current regulations stipulate.

It should be noted that Berlusconi has stepped aside from the League/Forza Italia coalition after MS5 made it clear that it would not form a government with the League should the establishment figure remain part of their plans.

Asked by the press whether this will have an effect on migration flows to the island, particularly from the sea which has dropped to just 23 individuals in 2017, Muscat insisted that the government first needed to be formed and reiterated that the country has always had good relations with the neighbouring country, regardless of who led the nation.

“I look forward to meeting whoever is appointed Prime Minister and discussing the future,” he said.

 

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