Europe is not offering any solutions, Maltese PM tells CNN

Joseph Muscat reiterates call for a uniform immigration policy among EU member states • Calls for immediate sanctions against Russia

30 lives were lost at sea on 19 July, 2014
30 lives were lost at sea on 19 July, 2014

The European Union was not offering any solutions to the phenomenon of irregular migration, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told CNN.

In an interview aired on Tuesday morning, Muscat said Europe must promote legal migration, but good migration management was needed.

“The situation is that the only solutions being offered are not being offered by the European Union but by individual countries, like Italy,” Muscat said.

The Maltese Prime Minister said countries on the frontiers should not be shouldering the burden of irregular migration on their own as refugees and asylum seekers look towards a safe haven in mainland Europe.

“These people do not want to come to Malta or Italy but they are in search of a new life in mainland Europe… so it is not solely our borders in question but Europe’s as well and that is why we need concrete immigration policy,” he said.

Muscat said the EU should be promoting legal migration, although this required good migration management.

Malta is supporting proposals for a legal migration system where a person applies to live and work in Europe, with the burden being shared among the 28 member states. Legal channels of migration would be created in countries of origin, applications screened and those approved would be relocated among all countries of the bloc according to pre-established thresholds.

30 of 400 migrants who found themselves in difficulty while crossing from Libya to Italy perished on the boat’s lower deck. The distress call to Malta’s Rescue and Co-Ordination Centre (RCC) was made on the night between Friday and Saturday.

A baby was among those who lost their lives.

More than 2,700 lives were lost at sea between 2007 and 2013.

Asked about the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine, Muscat said further sanctions with immediate effect against Russia were required.

“Further sanctions on Russia should take effect within the week in order for the EU to be considered credible,” he said.

Ukraine and Russia are now trading accusations over the downed Malaysia Airline flight MH17.