Muscat on anti-refugee boat C-Star: ‘We will not allow Malta to be used by racists’

Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat said that irrespectively of the country's own clear position on migration, it would not lend any support to extremist groups like Defend Europe and its anti-humanitarian mission

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat insisted his government would not allow Malta to  be used by extremists groups
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat insisted his government would not allow Malta to be used by extremists groups

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat this morning said that the Maltese government had taken a conscious decision not to allow the country to be used by right-wing extremists, following the government’s decision to deny the anti-migrant ship C-Star cooperation last week.

The C-Star - a ship chartered by an identitarian group Defend Europe – requested information regarding Maltese procedures should the boat require services in Malta, but was refused entry by local authorities.

“Last week we took the conscious decision not to let our country be used by far-right groups who are in a racist, almost Nazi, way dealing with the issue of illegal migration,” said Muscat in a phone-in on ONE radio.  

“We have been strong on a European level on migration where we have a clear politics which also factors in the humanitarian and security side of the issue.”

He insisted the government’s position was one which understood the plight of migrants and was mindful of the need to help, while also understating that it could not act a sieve - once again adding that it could not allow extremists who did not represent the country to use Malta.

“We have done this and have achieved results that can be seen by everyone, but we can’t let our country be used by extremists of this types because we would be playing into the hands of the people who committed attacks in Barcelona and Finland,” said Muscat.  

Turning to the current state of affairs within the Nationalist Party (PN), Muscat said it was clear that those “who were negative and tried to take the country down with them have not learnt the lesson that lies do not get you anywhere”.

He was referring to the Nationalist Party’s continued insistence that the government is engaged in a widespread cover-up of allegations stemming from the Panama Papers leaks. Last month it was announced that yet another magisterial inquiry would be launched following a request by outgoing PN leader Simon Busuttil.

Muscat accused Busuttil of persisting with his “lies” and the direction he had singlehandedly chosen for the PN.

“He wants to impose the direction he took on his successor, the same direction that is sinking the party,” said Muscat, adding that the PN was continuing with its divide and conquer strategy.

Moreover, he said it was clear that the same tactics used against him and his family were being used internally by people who knew no limits.

The Prime Minister stressed that while he would not offer advice to the PN, because it was not his job to do so, the chaotic state of the party, in addition to being bad for the PN, was also bad for the country, which said needed “an Opposition that was able to provide the government  with the necessary checks and balances”.