The Malta Independent 11 November 2019, Monday

PN’s Schembri praises Salvini for not letting Italy be ‘accomplices’ in ‘wave of organised crime'

Albert Galea Friday, 23 August 2019, 18:12 Last update: about 4 months ago

PN local councillor Justin Schembri praised Italian Home Affairs Minister Matteo Salvini for standing up to the European Union and his own Prime Minister and not "let his country be accomplices" in the "wave of organised crime" that is coming through the Mediterranean Sea.

Sharing a screenshot of a news article where Salvini said that as long as he is a minister within the Italian government nobody will enter the country without permission, and that Malta can take these people, Schembri praised the controversial Italian fire-brand for his willingness to stand up for his country.

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"That you have a politician ready to put his foot down and defend what he believes in is something to be appreciated", Schembri wrote on his personal Facebook profile.

"In the past, our country's great leaders also put their feet down and defended Malta in accordance to what they believed in, and that's how it should be", he wrote.

"Maybe many stamp Salvini with the term 'racist', but he is likely a sensible person because he wants to stop this planned trafficking, an at the same time not let his country be accomplices in this wave of organised crime", Schembri said.

"I do not agree with Salvini on a lot of things, including that his country has a crisis of a serious lack of work, so much so that many Italians are going looking [for jobs] in other countries, including Malta, but one must admire that he is capable of standing up to the European Union and his Prime Minister", he continued.

In Malta, he said, the "call of the majority" is so that the government and opposition join together to stand up to these "organised illegalities", but he noted that  nobody seems to have enough "guts" to put his foot down and say "no" for fear of being criticised.

"Today's politicians have the obligation to defend what belongs to our children, and they are failing us all the time because they are not listening to the call of the people.  Why don't our politicians today have the stature of Mintoff and Borg Olivier and attain that which their people believe in?" he questioned.

He said that this is not his sentiment, but that it is the sentiment of many others.

"Call me a racist, it doesn't matter, but one day, someone has to say that which the people want to say but is not managing. The patriot starts by, before anything, believe in the Maltese dream - and that always was that Malta is of the Maltese", he concluded.

His post comes hours after news emerged that the NGO ship Ocean Viking will be allowed to enter Malta with 356 migrants onboard.  Those migrants will all be distributed to six EU countries.

Schembri is the minority leader in the Birkirkara local council and was a general election candidate for the PN in the 2017 general election.  He was the person who spoke strongly in favour of current PN leader Adrian Delia at a party extraordinary general council last month as the leader faced a vote of no confidence. 

Sociologist, activist and now Nationalist Party politician Michael Briguglio took to Facebook soon after Schembri’s comments with quite a divergent message, saying:  “A social and ecological Europe needs less Salvinis and more coalitions of willing practitioners of solidarity.”

PN leader Adrian Delia ten days ago called on the government to "do the right thing" and let the migrants on the Open Arms - which has now docked in Lampedusa - and the Ocean Viking into Malta before finding a solution.  Questions have been sent by this newsroom to the PN about Schembri's remarks.


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