A lack of cooperation and dialogue at the European Union on how to tackle illegal migration in the Mediterranean has left countries like Malta “alone” to deal with the crisis, Prime Minister Robert Abela said.
“We can no longer face the crisis of immigration boat by boat,” he said during a joint news conference at the Summit Med 7 in Corsica last night.
“The European Union can no longer leave countries like Malta and Italy alone.”
Abela used his time at the summit to address the migration issue, noting that it was being deprived of the importance it deserved on the European agenda.
While Abela acknowledged that some EU countries have stepped in to help with the migration crisis, he also claimed that disagreements on a coherent strategy have resulted in cases of migrants being left out at sea for several weeks.
Such is the case regarding a Danish oil tanker which rescued 27 migrants four weeks ago, but which has been refused entry into Malta.
Abela has insisted that, because it bears a Danish flag, Denmark’s government should allow them safe passage into their country.
“The Mediterranean sea is the only thing that divides the European Union from another continent and therefore the need for close cooperation and work is important, not only for the security of the countries of the European Union, but for peace, economic development and prosperity in the region,” he said during the press conference.
Abela also stressed that the situation in Libya is of great importance and mentioned how Malta is serving as a bridge for dialogue between Libyans.
“It is also important that economic activity in Libya resumes. We must reiterate that Malta is a neutral country, and therefore the position is clear, that the sovereignty of countries must be respected on the basis of laws. Dialogue is the main medium for this situation.”
The Summit Med 7, which was attended by leaders of Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain also discussed the escalating tensions between Turkey and Greece and the possibility of imposing sanctions on Ankara in the next summit.
What do you make of this? Let us know in the comments below