With two vessels carrying over 500 migrants stranded outside Malta’s waters and the image of a lifeless body in a dinghy fresh in Malta’s collective memory, the Junior Minister for EU Funds Aaron Farrugia has issued a stern criticism over the silence and inaction of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) on the issue.
“Immigration has to be put to the top of the agenda, we can’t continue having simple seminars on the issue, we need specialised working groups who can usher in robust change,” Farrugia said.
Farrugia spoke after letting PAM’s Secretary-General Sergio Piazzi know of his disappointment in the lack of reaction from the international body despite a worsening diplomatic crisis in the region.
The PAM is an international organisation established in 2005 that includes all countries (bar Spain) in the region.
The platform, as Farrugia explains, could prove to be fertile ground in finding some sort of solution to the issue given that it includes nations that are key to migratory routes like Libya, Turkey, and Jordan.
“[Northern African nations] are part of the solution, they must also shoulder responsibility so we can move forward,” he said.
The situation within the Mediterranean has been exacerbated ever since a coalition government in Italy with a strong anti-migrant stance took power around 18 months ago.
Both Italy and Malta have taken strong stances against the issue, blocking entry to NGO vessels on numerous occasions throughout the last year. The two countries seem reluctant to continue bearing the brunt of the migratory issue without any long-term planning and assistance from surrounding nations.