Focusing on Migration, Brexit and Security, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, presented the six-pillar programs of the Maltese Presidency to the Strasbourg Chamber of the European Parliament.
“The Maltese Presidency will be a fair partner with the European Parliament,” Muscat reassured the Parliamentarians, recounting the time he first entered the room with Malta’s first European parliamentarians after the country joined the EU back in 2004.
Interrupted by translation failures in Strasbourg and noisy MEPs that the new president Antonio Tajani had to call to order, Muscat ran through the great differences of the atmosphere and challenges that the EU had to face at that time, compared to the EU of the financial and migration crisis.
“Τhe last major crisis we had caught Europe unprepared”
An EU-Turkey deal replica can be a solution for northern African countries migration issues, otherwise “Europe will face a major migration crisis,” warned Muscat, pointing to a solution that will have migrants screened in Africa to see whether they would be eligible for asylum or are job-seekers unlikely to be allowed in.
Migration was only recently recognised as a priority, according to Muscat, that praised both the European Commission and the European Parliament for their “exceptional leader skills”. Looking to the EU Council for action, Muscat conceded that “stuttering has come from the institution that I [represent] today.” Muscat underlined the need for responsibility-sharing and migration flow burden-sharing, saying that the Mediterranean member states of the European Union were left almost alone.
“The only solution was some more money,” added Muscat, suggesting that it is always tempting for politicians to go against relocation, as this would have been a popular stance at a national level. “Instead we opted to do the opposite.”
Muscat said the EU should “organize humanitarian safe passages and corridors that would get recognised asylum-seekers to Europe safely.”