On Italy-Malta standoff, Delia says national interest should be top priority

Opposition leader Adrian Delia said that Malta should continue to observe international law while Europe should assume responsibility

Opposition leader Adrian Delia says national interest should come first
Opposition leader Adrian Delia says national interest should come first

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia declared that he would not allow anyone in the Opposition to take a stand in favour of Italy if it were to declare that it would breach international law.

“Whoever does this is not speaking in the name of the Opposition,” Delia said during an interview on Radio 101. “I don’t agree with or permit that anyone in the Opposition indicates that [what Italy is doing] is good.”

“We need to have the courage to criticise the government when it is wrong. But when national interest is at stake, it is important to be firm, especially when the government is following international law while other countries are not.”

Delia was answering a question about the standoff which arose last week after Italy’s new populist government insisted that Malta take in the migrants rescued by the humanitarian ship Aquarius, which it refused to do.

“This is not an issue which comes in summer and leaves by winter. This is a human tragedy,” Delia said, but added that national interest should always come first – and so it is important to speak in one voice.

“If we speak in one voice, our voice in Europe grows,” he said, adding that he is not only prepared to side with the government on this issue, but would also be willing to clarify Malta’s position to the EU – as the Opposition.

“Europe has a tremendous responsibility. It has taken resources and persons from Africa for centuries, and now has the responsibility to invest in it.”