Malta should leave the Schengen Area and establish full control over its borders, the mayor of St Paul’s Bay has said.
“I’ve always maintained that we should leave the Schengen Area,” Alfred Grima told Illum in an interview. “My home has a door so that I can decide who enters and who leaves. How often have we discovered that people who come to Malta had committed [criminal] acts in their countries? I’m sorry, but why shouldn’t I know who is entering and who is leaving my country?
The Schengen Area, which Malta has been a part of since 2007, grants passport-free travel within the interior borders of 26 European countries.
It also allows for police and judicial cooperation and facilitates the sharing of data on issues such as requests for extradition, missing people and protection orders, as well as data on lost and stolen vehicles, firearms banknotes and identity documents.
As mayor of St Paul’s Bay, a position he took up last May, Grima is in charge of managing town whose population has ballooned in recent years, largely due to a high influx of migrants.
In his interview, he warned that integration has failed in his town.
“I believe that foreigners should follow the law when they move to another country, just as I had done,” he said. “Malta can keep progressing [economically] but we need enforcement. It’s useless having laws in place if no one is enforcing them.”
However, he made sure to add that he isn’t a racist, recounting how he recently attended an activity organised by the Nigerian community of St Paul’s Bay and that he admired the way they are giving back to society.