MEP candidates should defend their people not their politicians, PN says

PN takes pot shot at Labour's rallying cry asking people to vote for candidates who will defend Malta • Party says it is best placed to tackle irregular immigration

Roberta Metsola, Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici and Frank Psaila at a press conference on Thursday
Roberta Metsola, Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici and Frank Psaila at a press conference on Thursday

The Nationalist Party said that irregular immigration is still one of the most significant problems facing Malta today and that it was a party that was well-equipped to face the challenges and tackle them appropriately.

PN MEP candidate Roberta Metsola, who had drafted an EU law proposing an addition of 10,000 EU border and coast guards in times of crises, said that the Nationalist Party was prepared to be just with those who were vulnerable and stern with those who were not.

“When it comes to the European Parliament, I chose the committee responsible for justice, home affairs and security to sit on because immigration is at the centre of this committee’s interests. The priorities of the Maltese people are my priorities,” she said, referring to a recent Eurobarometer survey that found that the highest priority for Maltese voters was the issue of immigration.

She was speaking at a press conference at the PN Centre in Pietà on Thursday.

“The PN is just with the vulnerable, stern with those who aren’t and strong with those who want to profit and abuse of a migrant crisis,” Metsola said, adding that she would fight for the fundamental freedoms of people in the Mediterranean but would likewise fight against the exploitation of these same people.

PN MP Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici, also present at the conference, added to this that the PN would welcome proposals that would prevent the exploitation of migrants by human traffickers who were turning a profit.

One of the proposals suggested by Metsola, a proposal that is being bounced between the United Nations and the European Commission, is the concept of disembarkation platforms—areas outside of the EU designated as rehabilitative countries for people who were forced to leave Africa.

PN MEP candidate Frank Psaila said that Malta needed a better long-term plan in terms of immigration for the sake of the Maltese people.

“We need to answer the question of what kinds of workers we need in Malta and analyse the effect this influx will have on our infrastructure and our quality of life. It’s clear that the government does not have a long-term plan and this is having its effects on rents, wages and the quality of life,” Psaila said.

He added that when the PN was in government, it created several niches of employment for foreigners who could work alongside Maltese learners where their wages gradually increased.

“The three PN MEPs being shot down by the Labour Party for attacking Malta is the same old story. The PN is at the forefront of defending this country,” he said, referring to Metsola’s EU border guards law. “It is the obligation of MEPs who fight for their country to defend their people and not their politicians.”

Mifsud Bonnici praised the PN MEPs for working on immigration at the European level, an issue that he said was risky and delicate.

“The PN remains the balanced and moderate party that sees two aspects of this situation—assuring all fundamental rights of all individuals are being respect but to also have a strong hand with those who want to exploit a migrant crisis,” he said, adding that the PN had established the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), which was employing 500 people in Malta.