Dalli, Casa on Malta’s migration challenge: EU solidarity hard to come by

MEPs take questions on challenges faced by Malta and Europe in COVID-19

Malta is a small country “doing what it can” in its bid to win EU solidarity on immigration, Labour MEP Miriam Dalli said during a press conference, with Nationalist MEP David Casa, on COVID-19 and the European Parliament.

Dalli was referring to Malta’s stated withdrawal from the EU naval operation Irini, a bid to force the hand of the Libyan GNA to stop human traffickers on its coasts, by currying favour with the GNA’s ally, Turkey.

“Malta is indeed experiencing a lack of solidarity on immigration. If there is something we have to learn from this pandemic, it is solidarity with action.”

Dalli was also commenting on a question from MaltaToday on the dispute inside the Council of Ministers on the issuance of coronabonds and recovery bonds for EU member states to face the economic pressure caused by COVID-19.

“There should have been some form of understanding on aid to those mostly impacted by the pandemic. It is useless to speak of EU solidarity when in fact there is none. Malta has been left alone when it comes to immigration,” she said.

Casa insisted that Malta had to present more forceful arguments inside the Council of Ministers, which he acknowledged as the site of conflict for decisions determining the kind of support the island can get on immigration.

“We have international obligations. These are not just European laws. And the fact that we are EU members means we have a right to demand solidarity and help,” Casa said, keeping the subject on Malta’s migration challenge during COVID-19.

“But we have to save lives at sea… the European Parliament has always been on Malta’s side. It is in favour of a mechanism that offers us solidarity; the problem is inside the Council of Ministers. We have agreement inside the EP: if the Maltese government does its utmost, it will find the European Parliament behind it. I think there is unity here for a real solidarity mechanism for countries facing this phenomenon. But first, we have to save lives at sea,” Casa said.