[WATCH] Joseph Muscat condemns keyboard warriors on migrant issue

The Prime Minister said that Malta is not an extremist or racist nation and that he was convinced that keyboard warriors did not know what they were talking about

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the migrant issue that saw 49 migrants stranded in Maltese territorial waters encouraged polarising sentiments, with keyboard warriors going to extremes.

One one side, he said, there were many who urged the government to not take action and let them drown, and on the other, there were many who said that Malta should let them in without consequence.

Muscat was speaking at a political activity at the Labour Centre in Zabbar.

"I seriously doubt whether these people know what they're talking about. No, Malta is not an extremist or racist nation, and I am convinced that these same people would show mercy towards a wounded kitten outside their door," he said.

Muscat said that the German and Dutch NGO vessels loitered in Maltese territorial vessels after taking in the migrants from the Libyan sea. "They could've gone to Tunisia, back to Libya, or Italy, all options closer to where they were, but they chose Malta."

Muscat said that, for this reason, the pressure on Malta increased despite the fact that the island had nothing to do with the issue. This, he said, was not a Maltese problem that required a Maltese solution but an issue that required a European solution.

"People from the comfort of their own homes, behind their keyboard, become experts of the world. On one hand, we see people saying that if Europe offers a solution, it would incentivise migrants into capitalising on the situation and more and more would come to Malta. We need to be sensible," Muscat said.

He added that the migrant situation was a desperate one, that for a group of people to leave their home on a rickety boat, travelling miles and miles to reach the European promised land was a sign of desperation or because the home country was not offering a ray of hope.

"The NGOs have to observe rules, however, and if there aren't any, these need to be drawn up. After all, the Libyan authorities themselves have saved 14,000 people from sea according to the UNHCR. They are functioning." Muscat made reference to Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj's visit to Malta, where, he said, this issue was discussed.

While thanking the European Commission for coming to a temporary solution, Muscat said that the current situation was untenable. He thanked the member states who while having no obligation to take the migrants that had recently come to Maltese shores, they helped Malta through a relocation scheme.

"Let's be sensible by being humanitarian but also by being more than just passive. We should expect a European solution for a European problem," he said.