Muscat: ‘As long as there are wars, refugees will continue to flee’

Joseph Muscat likens upcoming EU-Africa Summit to the 1989 Bush-Gorbachev Summit, says Malta is once again returning to its roots as bridge builder 

As long as wars and oppression prevail, people will continue fleeing their countries and they will find every means or ways to do so, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said. 

This week, the European Union agreed that boats used by smugglers should be targeted and destroyed while France and the UK will seek a mandate by the United Nations. The move is however a short-term one while smugglers have told the Guardian that there will always be "business" for human traffickers no matter how much Europe threatens them.

The Syrian war alone has led to the displacement of 7.6 million people while 3.9 million people are living as refugees in neighbouring countries.

"Destroying boats is not enough and the root causes need to be addressed ... As long as there are wars, people will continue fleeing, even if they have to swim their way," Muscat told party faithful during a political activity organised in Nadur.

The European Council has agreed to holding an EU-Africa Summit in Malta, bringing together EU leaders most affected by migration and leaders from African countries to discuss the migration crisis. 

Muscat likened the upcoming summit to the 1989 Bush-Gorbachev Summit, when the Cold War was declared over. He said, that once again Malta was living up to its history as bridge builder.

The summit will see countries of origin, transit and destination sitting around one table discussing possible solutions in an attempt to stop migrants from embarking on dangerous crossings. 

Muscat said many of those attempting dangerous crossings had little choice.

Turning to the country's economy, Muscat said Malta had registered the lowest rate of deficit ever recorded. He said, the government would soon announce a new project in education. Referring to plans by Panta Lesco to lay off some 70 workers, Muscat said the government was in talks with companies to find an alternative place for the workers.

Referring to the local councils elections, Muscat accused the PN of arrogance while he pledged the government would continue working with humility.

More in National