Full solidarity with Italy after the latest Lampedusa tragedy – PM
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Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the latest tragedy involving the death of dozens of African migrants off Lampedusa “is yet another wake up call for the European Union not to let one single Member State deal on its own with the issue of illegal immigration. The EU must not limit itself to statements but extend its intentions in a perceptible manner with long-term solutions.”
The Prime Minister expressed full solidarity with family members of the victims and also with the Italian Government.
Speaking to the press, Dr Muscat referred to the forthcoming EU conference on relocation and said that Malta will not be satisfied with statements.
The Prime Minister said there are high level contacts going on with the Italian and Greek Prime Ministers and announced that the migrant exodus issue and the Mediterranean will be on the EU agenda for the next twelve months. Greece and Italy are due for the 2014 EU presidencies.
Today’s incident should not remain just a headline but it should lead to EU solidarity. He welcomed the Italian government’s intention to push for changes in the EU’s asylum legislation. The Maltese Government is in favour of amendments to regulations governing the way asylum applications are processed,” the Prime Minister said.
Malta, insisted the Prime Minister,” is honouring its international obligations and is upholding the provisions of international treaties. He said that during the past hours, the Armed Forces of Malta, in conjunction with Italian naval authorities, were involved in yet another two rescue operations on the high seas.”
He commended the full synergy which exists between the two governments. Dr Muscat said comments made by sole politicians will definitely not impinge on the excellent relations between Malta and Italy.