THE European Union cannot leave countries like Malta and Italy to deal with the migration issue on their own, the Maltese Prime Minister insists.
Speaking at a joint press briefing in Corsica on Thursday following a meeting with the leaders of seven southern EU-member states, Robert Abela said the problem of migrants trying to reach Europe by boat on central Mediterranean routes has continued to increase.
He claims the EU has not pushed the migration matter far enough up the agenda.
He accepted that some countries are giving assistance, but pointed to situations where immigrants have been left on boats in the middle of the Mediterranean due to a lack of agreement between countries.
According to Abela it is “not sustainable to continue to address the immigration situation on a boat to boat basis.”
The head of the Maltese government maintained the EU has made commitments, but has been slow to actually act.
He referred particularly to tackling human trafficking organsations.
Abela also argued the EU should seek greater cooperation with African nations and with Libya, from where many of the migrants heading for the centre of the Mediterranean start out. Not only is this important for the safety of Europe, he said, but also to help create peace and economic growth in Africa.
“We cannot be left alone anymore”, Abela later tweeted.
As well as Italy and Malta, the Summit Med 7 included the leaders of Spain, France, Greece, Cyprus and Portugal.