Too little Europe causing uncertain times

Solidarity is not the reverse of resolve or loving one’s country. Those believing in Europe must step up to show solidarity

Muscat: 'No wall, even if we manage to erect one on the high seas, is a solution on its own'
Muscat: 'No wall, even if we manage to erect one on the high seas, is a solution on its own'

Europe is yet again facing uncertain times not because of too much Europe but because of too little of it. This is not simply about migration.

Its very foundations, and raison d’etre are being tested to their limits through this challenge. Let us get facts right. Some progress has been made. Arrivals from the Central Mediterranean route are down 78% year-on-year. But this is not enough.

The result of this inaction can be traced in recent political upheaval in polls across parts of Europe.

There will be Member States which will scramble to change their position. Malta will not be one of them.

Our position has always been consistent, advocating a European solution with both humanitarian and security facets. Removing one element from the other might be ideologically enticing but practically equates to inertia.

No wall, even if we manage to erect one on the high seas, is a solution on its own. We need to differentiate between genuine asylum seekers and economic migrants, creating humanitarian corridors for the former, and implementing effective returns for the latter.  We need to clamp down on illegal trafficking of people and rules that must be observed by all, both states and organisations.

Finally, those believing in Europe must step up to show solidarity. I speak as leader of one of the very few Member States which has fully implemented its obligations when called to voluntarily do so.

Solidarity is not the reverse of resolve or loving one’s country. Quite the opposite. Unfortunately, the MV Aquarius and MV Lifeline standoffs have seen Italy and Malta pitted against each other, when in fact we should be allies working for the same cause. This further highlights the failure of Europe to act. I am hoping that facetime between leaders, away from tweets, formal communication or phone calls, will help achieve progress.

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