Maltese minister warns of more migrant arrivals in coming summer

Malta’s Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo on Thursday warned of more migrant arrivals in the coming summer, as Malta has seen 1,500 migrant arrivals so far this year.

Bartolo said in a televised statement on Thursday that “So far this year, 1,500 arrived in Malta which is half the total we had all last year. As summer approaches, there will be more arrivals as the situation in North Africa gets worse.”

Bartolo said that all Malta was asking for was support to deal with the migration problem, as it could not be expected to deal with the burden on its own.

“We will do our part on migration but it (Malta) will not and cannot become Europe’s crisis centre,” he said.

He explained that Malta’s centres for migrants were not only full but were operating with double number they were equipped to accommodate.

“One percent of the population in Malta are irregular migrants waiting to be processed. Since 2005, almost 9 percent came through irregular migration routes,” said the foreign minister, attributing the influx to the profitable activities of human traffickers and people smugglers.

He said the European migration problem is a collective responsibility and had to be addressed together.

“Words of sympathy are not enough. We need practical help by relocating migrants to other countries,” he said, adding that Malta was receiving very little solidarity, which was the value on which the European Union was built.