The Malta Independent 26 September 2018, Wednesday

Muscat stresses need for paradigm shift on proposals to tackle migration

Kevin Schembri Orland Monday, 18 June 2018, 11:08 Last update: about 4 months ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said today that the proposals being made on migration have been said time and time again, and that a paradigm shift is needed in order for the EU to not go around in circles.

He mentioned the setting up of hot spots in countries, and noted the need for EU direct involvement for such hot spots to be set up. He said that there is no political will for this to occur.

Muscat, during a MEUSAC core meeting, also said that the number of migrants crossing from Libya to Europe reduced by 78% over the period of a year.

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He was holding a dialogue with the core group ahead of the upcoming end of June summit.

Turning to recent allegations by Italian Ministers that Malta is not doing its part on migration, the Prime Minister said that Malta has not changed its position from the past legislature. He said that Malta has a large number of applications for asylum and that Malta does its part. He said that Malta is just one of two EU countries that fulfilled its obligations in terms of taking asylum seekers from Greece and Italy through the emergency mechanism.

He said that going by the vision of the Dublin regulations, Malta is carrying its weight on this issue.

He said that there has been a change in the composition of migrants heading towards Europe, with many more economic migrants making their way. He stressed that there is a differentiation between economic migrants and asylum seekers fleeing war or humanitarian atrocities.

On the upcoming EU Parliamentary elections, he said they will be more about those who believe in the EU project, and those who want to break the project, rather than left or right.

He also addressed the upcoming EU budget, and said that the first proposals made by the EU Commission are a good starting base for negotiation. He also said that the EU countries need to see whether they will make up for the contributions lost due to Brexit, or if the EU countries will have to live with less.

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