[WATCH] Government must explain change of heart on Lifeline, Adrian Delia says

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia said that the government needs to be clear and transparent on its position and on the country's ability to accommodate migrants

PN leader Adrian Delia said that the government is not revealing its long-term plan on migration
PN leader Adrian Delia said that the government is not revealing its long-term plan on migration


Although the Opposition had so far backed the government's position on the rescued migrants, Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia said that the government is not being clear on its stance.

"The government's initial stance was not to accept anyone. Now this seems to be changing," Delia said.

He said it was unclear whether the country was prepared to receive a large number of migrants. “It seems that in the coming hours, the migrants will be disembarking in our county, and so we ask whether Malta is prepared for this."

Speaking during a press conference on Wednesday, Delia said that the government needs to be transparent about its intentions and its long-term plan, particularly in light of the fact that it said it would need 70,000 more foreign workers.

"Where will they stay? Who doesn't he want? We cannot, in the same breath, say that we want to sell passports and receive workers but not accept someone seeking asylum."

A few hours prior, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced that MV Lifeline, which is carrying 234 migrants, will be allowed to disembark in Malta following an ad hoc agreement with seven EU member states.

The member states agreed to distribute the rescued migrants once they are processed, Muscat said.

The PN is proposing that the country makes its principles clear, and that the situation itself needs to be clarified, Delia said. "The government so far only spoke about the incident itself and not the plan in the long term."

Delia reiterated that the country needs to both protect the national interest and follow international law, as well as consider the humanitarian aspect. “This is not a Maltese problem but a European one, and it’s not a problem that will go away after Summer. The EU cannot abandon the countries closest to Africa and burden them with the issue. The concept of the EU is that it is one territory, and its obligations should be consistent in everything.”

Delia said that the government needs to be clear and transparent on the prior agreement made with Italy. “Agreements between states don’t change simply due to a change in government,” he said, asking the Maltese government to clarify whether the agreement on migration was made between the two states, or whether it was a deal between “two persons”.

Malta cannot carry on being reactive to the migration issue, and it needs to keep the public informed, Delia said.

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