Busuttil accuses Muscat of being ‘sheepish’ with EU leaders on migration

PN leader Simon Busuttil accuses Prime Minister Muscat of employing ‘cowboy tactics’ in Malta while being sheepish in Europe.

Muscat is under fire over his alleged success in the latest round of European talks.
Muscat is under fire over his alleged success in the latest round of European talks.

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil accused the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of using "cowboy tactics" over migration when addressing local audiences but transforming himself into a "sheep" when addressing the EU Summit held last week.

Reminding Muscat that the Opposition "still has friends" within the EU council of leaders, Busuttil said that the Prime Minister played tough when in Malta but "turned into a sheep" when addressing EU leaders behind closed doors, "despite trying to give an impression that he stood his ground."

Busuttil was replying to the Prime Minister's declaration on last week's summit held in Brussels. In his statement, the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that migration was placing a "disproportionate weight" on Malta and the country had to "stand up to be counted" to avoid further tragedies.

Addressing Parliament this evening, Muscat had a dig at the Opposition and said that in last week's EU summit, Malta "rediscovered its voice" and enjoyed the support of all Socialist prime ministers.

"Now it's up to others to carry out their duties within their political groupings," he said in a clear invitation to the Opposition leader Simon Busuttil seated across the House to convince prime ministers within the centre-right political family to support Malta's calls for EU action on migration.

Muscat said that Malta rediscovered its "voice of reason" and although aware of its limitations and size, "it will not be trampled by anyone."

Once again Muscat chose to describe the issue as "illegal migration, "highlighting his conscious decision to use the term "illegal" in when addressing Maltese audiences and "irregular" when addressing international fora such as the United Nations general assembly.

Insisting that his government shed the inferiority complex which characterised former PN administrations, Muscat pointed out that the current government decided to "create an unprecedented movement on illegal migration."He added that after setting off on this journey alone, Malta won the backing of Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Slovenia, Croatia, Cyprus and Bulgaria.

Claiming that for the "first time ever" EU leaders agreed to make a commitment to take clear decisions on migration, Muscat said that he was not satisfied with this and requested a "concrete commitment and timeframe."

"Therefore, I asked my colleagues when such decisons would be taken. They mentioned June, but I did not mince my words and made it clear that June would be too late. We would only be postponing the problem," Muscat said.

He added that Malta and the eight other countries backing its position, pushed the deadline forward to December and requested a "written commitment." Muscat said that these requests were accepted by the European Council and acknowledged the insistence for "urgent short-term actions."

This commitment would translate in operational decisions which should give a priority to the relocation of refused asylum seekers by plane "in the shortest time possible." If need be, Muscat said, Malta would issue travelling documents and this process "should fall under EU responsibility."

Another priority, Muscat said, was the setting up of centres in transit countries, where asylum applications would be processed and if refused, migrants would be discouraged to take risks to reach Europe by sea. He also said that another priority would be easier access to EU funds for Malta and other member states.

In his reply, Busuttil stressed that the Opposition shares the government's aims on migration, adding "I hope that both sides of the House work together for the country's benefit, but this should be done in a humane way because we are dealing with human beings here."

The PN leader however said that "we agree on the aims, but we have differences in the method. We disagree with the Prime Minister's assessment on the results obtained and we also disagree on the style of negotiations."  

Questioning the Prime Minister's claims that Malta was "successful in the European Council meeting because we stood firm," Busuttil said that Muscat was unbeatable when it comes to words, but "he still came back empty handed."

The Opposition leader also asked whether he should believe the government's boasts that it managed to convince Europe to take action or the summit's conclusions which stated that decisions would be taken but made no mention of the implementation of such decisions.

"There is also a big difference between the Prime Minister's statements, including tonight's, and reports in the international press which said that leaders failed to make progress and lacked the will to resolve the migration issue," Busuttil said.

"The Prime Minister claimed to have scored a victory and overcame an inferiority complex while international media was describing the summit as a failure," he said.

Busuttil also dispelled claims that the Prime Minister's pressure changed the summit's agenda and said that there was no reference to operational decision s and relocation of migrants in the summit's conclusions.

"You were so critical of the previous administration, yet you have not managed to convince Europe to make clear commitments on relocation of migrants in writing," he said, adding that the summit also failed to specifically mention mandatory burden sharing.

"Maybe you will manage one day, and I will be behind you if you do so, however you have come back from Brussels empty handed."

Answering Muscat's call to convince centre-right Prime Ministers to back Malta's requests, Busuttil said: "You do not only have a duty to convince Socialist Prime Ministers, but as Prime Minister you have to convince all Prime Ministers, whether they belong to the Socialist Party or the People's Party."

He added that the PN disagrees with the style employed by Muscat and the discourse used, and taking a dig at Muscat's opposition to EU membership in 2003, Busuttil said that the only persons suffering from an inferiority complex where those who campaigned against EU accession.

Adding that Muscat's "cowboy" style was damaging Malta's bargaining power, Busuttil reminded the House that previous PN administrations, which the Prime Minister described as suffering from an inferiority complex, had obtained over one billion euros in EU funds in the forthcoming multi-annual financial framework.

In his reply to the Opposition's questions, Muscat said that it was unacceptable for the Opposition to support government's efforts on "illegal migration" on certain conditions.  

Rebutting Busuttil's claims that the Opposition knew what was said within the European Council meeting, Muscat said he knew what was being said within the Opposition's headquarters.   

In reply to whether the EU would implement its decisions in December, Muscat repeated that he had set a deadline for operational decisions to be taken, however he failed to say whether these would be implemented.

"We are after short-term measures, with the return flights of refused asylum seekers being our main priority," Muscat said.  

He also pointed out that Frontex was failing in its remit on the relocation of refused migrants and said that the leader of the Opposition was wrong is believing that Malta can relocate migrants outside of Frontex, because third countries are not accepting travelling documents issued by Malta.

"These countries in Africa which receive development aid from Europe have to accept these travel documents, otherwise aid should be suspended," Muscat said.   

The Prime Minister expressed his optimism that Libya can play an important role in the EU's efforts to stop the flow of migrants, however he said: "I am convinced we can strike a deal with Libya but firstly Libya needs to stabilise. The Libyan government is also prepared to sign such a deal with us, however it is not considered to be a safe country by the EU." 

When Joseph Muscat stamped his feet, Simon Busuttil accused him that with method he will never gain anything. When Joseph Muscat was more diplomatic in his approach, Simon Busuttil accused Joseph Muscat that he became a sheep. I cant understand what Simon wants. But personally I prefer Joseph Muscat to be a sheep, and not like Simon Busuttil when Malta was discussing and demanding that burden sharing should be obligatory, because at that time Simon acted like a goat, and voted against the interest of his fellow Maltese people.
Jekk ghal Busuttil, il-Prim Ministru kien qiesu naghga, mela hu kif ikun, qiesu bebbuxxu? Ara vera ma jafx xi jrid dan Busu, fili jghid lil Joseph biex ma joqghodx isabbat saqajh u jirrabja ma' l-EU u issa qieghed isemmi n-naghag. Bebbux bl-arjoli u kawlata mhawda ghandna l-lejla sinjura!
Simon!!!! is sheep kont INT meta gei Franco Debono fuq xarabank, ax stahbet l-aquarium ax bdejt tah-- tuhtek. Hu dan minn malti bhalek, ahseb u ara tal ewropa, ghallek til laqhom. Umbajt trid tajjar lil Joseph?? Kellek bzonn andek nitfa kuragg li andu hu. Mur gol playpen simon, u oqod gerrem xhi farley's rusk, ghax ghallek int tajjeb,nithassarhom il partitarji genwini nazzjonalisti li twekku b'miskin bhalek. Il L.P gburi b'Joseph, u il P.N imbikki b'Simon. Amen
Can anyone in his right mind believe Simon Busuttil any longer ?? He has been accusing our prime minister of being too tough in the way he is addressing the EU on illegal immigration , going as far as saying that Dr. Muscat is being "hostile" to the EU. Now, all of a sudden, he accuses Dr. Muscat of being "sheepish" !!!!!!! No wonder serious and intelligent PN leaning people are seriously questioning the decision to elect Dr. Busuttil as leader of the PN !
Simon veru li Joseph gie b'idu vojta, ma gabx xi qampiena jew xi geru zghir imma gab dik li hija suppost wieghda soda mill-Kunsill ta' l-Ewropa li qed jikkommettu ruhhom li tinghata risposta ghat-talba ta' Malta maghmula minn Joseph Muscat u mieghu nghaqdu 8 pajjizi ohra li sas-summit ta' Dicembru tinghata risposta bil-miktub. Issa jekk tkun favorevoli nghidu viva Joseph &Co u jekk le Joseph jaf x'ghandu jaghmel biex id-dritt taghna nirbhu u mhux bal-tal-PN li jghidu li ghandhom il-hbieb fl-Ewropa u qatt ma juzawhom ghal bzonnijiet taghna u nispera li ma juzawhomx bil-kontra.
Ba Ba black sheep,SIMON nothing good comes out of your mouth,sometimes i wonder if you were planted there by the PL.
How the man who sold us service pensioners down the river with the EU when he was a MEP has the nerve to call the PM a sheep beggars belief. Simon had no backbone then and has even less now. An empty vessel makes most noise Simon....
Ara min qed jitkellem. Lanqas irrid nemmen. Ma hasibx li hu xi Spartacus dan Busullotti. Nesa meta il-poplu kollu rah fuq it-television qiesu tigiega mxxarba mwerwer minn Franco Debono ? U xi nghidu ghal immigranti . Nesa li hu u siehbu gonzipn kienu iccelebraw vittorja meta L-EU qalet li ghandu jkun hemm burden sharing ? Verament tal-misthija dan Busullttipn ghax ghalinqas Joseph Muscat ghamel stand u r-risultati ghad irridu narawhom. U hu x'ghamel ? L-aqwa haga li jaf jaghmlu hu u shabu biss. Jilaqu il-warrani tal-EU. Ahjar jmur jorqod mat-teddy bear.
There is nothing better to start the day off than with a good laugh brought to us folks by none other than Simon Busuttil sive XMUN BUZULLOTTI!
`Furjaniz` qisu kien f`mohhi ghax li qal hu hija il vera posizjoni ta Dan Xmun !! Hawwadni ha nifmek . Mela ghax sabbat saqajh qal li L- Ewropa warbitna u ghax kien prudenti imma CAR fejn tithol Malta ghallura `sheepesh` Nesa dan li FL-Ewropa kienu isibuh L-GHASFUR TAL BEJT ?? Ghax ma tarax kif taghmel u tikkalobora ftiet ghal gid ta Malta u mhux taghmilha ta L-GHAQI tal Barranin .
IS this busuttil buzullotti guy for real..
Dear Simon, the Voluntary Burden Sharing you boosted of achieving many years ago was a failure. You had your chance to solve the immigration problem and failed. Now you have the cheek to criticize Joseph for standing up and doing his best for Malta's rights with the EU. Shame on you.
Look who's talking.
To be fair,I think that Simon Busutill is right! Joseph Muscat came to Malta empty handed, whilst Busutill came to Malta with the 'voluntary burden sharing'lumped on him by his friends and trumpeted-I don't know how many times as the solution to Malta illegal immigration! Please Simon stop showing to our friends in Europe that you suffer from inferiority complex and that hence you are simply a 'yesman'....and your voluntary burden sharing really shows it! Nispera li Metsola ma tigzanix mall-barranin!
Busuttil has lost all semblance of honesty and good governance. He accuses, attacks, maligns just for the sake of saying something. In short he has lost all credibility. If there is a sheepish attitude it is Busuttil's and not Muscat who knows exactly what he wants, where he wants to arrive, and what steps are needed to achieve the goals. Busuttil is being left flabbergasted at every turn he makes.
Priscilla Darmenia
Busuttil said that Muscat turned "sheepish" when addressing EU ministers. Thanks God he did not turn into a carpet as GonziPN did in Dublin 2
Ara lil dan il Buzu ma tifmux. Jekk Joseph isabbat saqajh jew jhedded bil Vito jghidlu li ma EU ma tridx timxi hekk ghax ma tiehu xejn. Jekk Joseph jitkellem bil prudenza u jgib dak li xtaq jghidlu sheep. Dan il Buzu ezattament xirid? Mhux ahjar imur l'Ewropa u jikkonvinci lil shabu biex forsi jtuna palata.
Ghax ma jmurx jinhebha taht xi gebla da l'buffu Buzu. Jaf jew ma jafx da 'l-gahan li kull meta jiftah halqu fuq dan is-suggett qieghed jaghmel hafna hsara lill Malta, aktar milli qieghdin jaghamlu dawk il-pajjizi li ma jridux jerfghu ir-responsabilta taghhom. Kieku ma nafx li mohhu naqra fjakk kont nghid li qieghed jagixxi ta traditur.
Luke Camilleri
This Simon is just too much .... he is so funny, will just say anything as long as he has something to say :)