The Malta Independent 14 October 2019, Monday

Schengen's collapse is not in Malta's interest, PL MEP Alfred Sant says

Sunday, 14 February 2016, 12:23 Last update: about 5 years ago

The collapse of the Schengen area is not in Malta's interests, PL MEP Alfred Sant said during the annual General Conference of the Birkirkara Labour Party Centre.

Former Prime Minister Alfred Sant said that one danger is that the Schengen area, by which Europeans travel without frontier controls all over most of Western Europe, could collapse in the next two months.

"The fundamental problem is that though the only way by which to contain the crisis is through a European solution, there is no real agreement between member states on the issue. Member states are not keeping their commitments and they are not trusting each other".

Dr. Sant said there are two areas where Malta needs to follow attentively. The first is the agreement with Turkey, by which the EU is now trying to convince Turkey to keep refugees flowing from Syria on its territory. "The EU has promised Turkey the sum of €3 billion as compensation. €1 billion will come from the EU's budget, member states will contribute the remaining €2 billion. Malta's share of this, as of now, is €1.1 million.

The second area, he said, is the proposal to convert Frontex into an EU agency with direct control over the EU's external borders. "Frontex could, in an emergency, have the power to take over border control from national governments. That amounts to a big cession of sovereignty. Do we want this for Malta?" the Maltese MEP asked.

Dr. Sant said that at European Parliament level, there are many views about how these two issues should be tackled. He promised that the Maltese Labour delegation will continue to support government's stand.

Dr. Sant said that the Maltese people need to take a direct interest in the European refugee crisis as it could influence their future. "It is true that Malta seems to have been cocooned from the latest disruptions caused by refugees and immigrants coming over to Europe from the Middle East. But it is an illusion to think that Malta can just ignore what is going on. The situation will remain problematic for as long as the civil war in Syria continues and Libya remains a dangerously unstable country". 


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