Muscat says EU should ban sale of dinghies to Libya to stem immigration

Joseph Muscat: 'EU countries cannot keep speaking about the need to stop immigration while at the same time allow its companies to export dinghies to Libya' 

Joseph Muscat speaks to TVM at the end of an EU Council meeting
Joseph Muscat speaks to TVM at the end of an EU Council meeting

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has thrown his weight behind a proposal for EU countries to ban the sale of dinghies and speedboats to Libya as an attempt to stem immigration from the North African country.

“This proposal hasn’t been receiving much coverage but I think it will gain traction amongst European countries and will eventually pass into EU law,” he said in comments to TVM following a European Council meeting. “European countries cannot keep speaking about the need to stop the exploitation of people, while at the same allow its companies to export dinghies to Libya that are then used to send people to Europe.

“There’ll always be ways and means to skirt this law, but I think it will send out a very strong message.”

During his trip to Brussels, Muscat also held a meeting with Libyan UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, with discussions focused on beefing up the Libyan coastguard.

“The EU has trained one batch of Libyan coastguard units, and we are now awaiting names for the second batch,” he said. “Libya also wants certain equipment for its coastguard, and Malta will pressure the EU to give them the equipment they need.”

In his comments, Muscat also cast doubt on whether the UK will actually wind up leaving the EU after all, arguing that the political situation in the UK has become extremely fluid since the last general election.

He also said that Malta will stand to gain from the improving economic indicators across Europe – such as the recent French election, and declining unemployment in Spain.

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