Muscat: We made Europe wake up and smell the coffee
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Muscat: We made Europe wake up and smell the coffee

One of the migrants who arrived yesterday. (Reuters picture)

One of the migrants who arrived yesterday. (Reuters picture)

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Al Jazeera TV this evening that Malta had made Europe 'wake up and smell the coffee' on the migration problem.

He also insisted that Libya should not be seen as part of the problem but an essential part of the solution t othe migration crisis.

Dr Muscat said the overwhelming feeling among the Maltese was that the country had been abandoned by everyone with regard to migration.

The government had therefore declared it would consider all options in order to make Europe wake up, and it succeeded in doing so.

As he was speaking, Dr Muscat said, the AFM was rescuing some 160 people at sea.

"We cannot continue to do this on our own, and we therefore took a conscious decision that unless something is done, we will consider all options," Dr Muscat said.

"When you are left on your own, and after years and years of empty talk and very little solidarity you have to consider all options," he said, while reiterating that Malta always respected its international obligations and would continue to do so. 

"We have contributed the equivalent of 3% of our GDP to the EU bailouts. Once the EU was so quick in rescuing the banks, it should be even quicker to rescue people at sea," Dr Muscat said.

He said that the arrival of 2,000 people last year on an island of 400,000 was the equivalent, relative to population size, to the arrival of 100,000 in Belgium ora million in Germany. That, surely, was not sustainable.

"We are making proposals for more solidarity and we need to bring Libya into the equation, it is not part of the problem but part of the solution," Dr Muscat said.

Dr Muscat described the calls he gets at night about people needing rescue at sea as 'nightmarish' and insisted that this is not a Maltese problem, but a problem of the Mediterranean and Europe.

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