Muscat urges swift EU response to migration at UNESCO conference

PM Joseph Muscat called for support from all EU members to address migration, particularly in light of the conflict in Libya

(Photo: MOAS/Darrin Zammit Lupi)
(Photo: MOAS/Darrin Zammit Lupi)

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has warned that if countries on the front lines of Europe's migration issues were ignored, the Mediterranean and Europe as a whole would suffer huge repercussions as a result. 

Muscat was speaking at the UNESCO conference on migration in Paris earlier today. 

Some 14,000 migrants had been rescued by the Maltese navy over the years, he said, paying tribute to the men and women who risked their lives to rescue those in danger at sea. 

The instability in Libya was causing many more to attempt the Mediterranean crossing in 'daunting' numbers. "Desperation makes the unimagineable happen," he said. 

"We have made numerous calls to our EU partners. It is a European problem. We have a moral obligation. We must act now and not tomorrow," Muscat said. The status quo, he maintained, is not an option and it is only through the cooperation of the EU members that a solution can be found.

He urged a swift response to the influx of migrants escaping war, violence and persecution, a stark contrast from the economic migration Europe was subject to in the past.