Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo has said he will resign if the EU is unable to reach an agreement on migration that respects both nations and a person’s human rights.
In yet another social media post, Bartolo expressed growing frustration on the lack of a concrete policy to effectively tackle the crisis.
“Isn’t it possible to draw up a policy on migration that defends our people and the dignity of migrants? If this is impossible… I will resign. This is the easiest thing,” he said.
Malta has seen close to 1,200 arrivals since the start of 2020, according to official figures. Italy has received 2,800, but there have been more arrivals in Spain (4,934) and Greece (7,569).
“I do not want anyone who crosses the Mediterranean to drown. I do not want people, whoever they are, treated badly, enslaved and beaten,” he added but stressed that Malta cannot shoulder the burden alone.
“[Unless a solution is found] People will continue to drown. Human smugglers will become richer. I would be forgotten as if I never existed. But the human tragedy will continue,” he concluded.
A diplomatic migration crisis erupted recently, with Italy, Malta, and Spain all closing their ports to asylum seekers while their respective countries coped with the pandemic. However, Libya has also closed its ports after declaring the country unsafe due to the ongoing civil war.
Six people died while the rest eventually returned to Libya, while six others remain missing. The death of the asylum seekers has resulted in a full-scale investigation into Prime Minister Robert Abela, Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi, and numerous AFM soldiers.
The Maltese government has remained firm on their decision, with Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo calling for millions in EU aid to address the migration crisis within Libya.
At least 57 migrants that were rescued by Malta’s armed forces are currently waiting aboard a Captain Morgan cruise ship until the European Union offers them help