Friday

7th Oct 2022

Three EU states willing to help Malta 'tourism boat' migrants

  • Captain Morgan cruise boats were being used to keep migrants offshore. (Photo from 2008) (Photo: Pepino)

Luxembourg, France and Portugal are willing to take in some of the recently-disembarked migrants in Malta, said the European Commission.

"We have three member states and we very much commend them of course. We also encourage other member states to equally show their support," a European Commission spokesperson told reporters on Monday (8 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

It is not yet clear how many each country will transfer from Malta, in a move also known as "relocation" in EU parlance.

Malta had over the weekend allowed some 425 people to land. All had been stranded on four Maltese tourist-seeing boats anchored several nautical miles off the coast.

Some had spent over a month on the boats, which are designed for day trips.

Malta had initially refused to allow them to disembark because of the pandemic caused by Covid-19, claiming its ports were unsafe.

But with restrictions easing and tensions mounting on at least one of the vessels, the government changed its mind.

"The government isn't ready to endanger lives of both the migrants and the crew, due the lack of solidarity shown by European Union member states in terms of relocation," said the Maltese government, in an emailed press statement.

Malta had issued similar statements last month when its foreign minster demanded greater solidarity from other EU states, noting a larger in-take of migrant arrivals fleeing Libya.

The European Commission has been coordinating such stand-offs with member states since January of 2019 - as part of a long-standing issue on migration the European Union has so far failed to resolve.

The commission wants a more permanent solution, which will be rolled out along with its yet to be published wider pact on migration and asylum.

Although no specific date has been given, the commission had previously stated it hopes the pact will be published at summer's start.

Libya and Malta twin centres

The issue follows plans made late May by Malta and Libya's internationally-recognised government in Tripoli to set up two coordination centres in the respective capitals to prevent migrants from leaving the war-torn country.

The centres will be financed by Malta and staffed by six officials, divided between Valletta and Tripoli.

Signed between Malta's prime minister Robert Abela and Fayez al-Sarraj of Libya's Government of National Accord, the pact is set for launch at the start of July.

Malta has refused to take part in the EU's naval operation Irini, which aims to curtail the supply of weapons to Libya.

The Government of National Accord (GNA) relies heavily on Turkey's military prowess in the fight against the Russian-backed warlord Khalifa Haftar.

In return, Turkey is seeking to expand its territorial claims in the eastern Mediterranean and access to natural gas deposits.

The two sides signed a pact last November allowing Ankara to create a disputed maritime corridor that cuts through zones also claimed by Greece and Cyprus.

EU Commission seeks help as hundreds stuck off Malta coast

Hundreds of people who fled Libya have been stuck off the Maltese coast as the government in Valletta refuses to allow them to disembark. The European Commission is demanding EU states step in to help relocate them.

New EU migration pact set for start of summer

The new EU pact on migration is set for publication sometime in June. Final tweaks are still underway as commissioner for home affairs Ylva Johansson says she remains cautiously optimistic on finding a solution to the most pressing issues.

EU money can be used to offshore migrants on boats

The European Commission says member states can use EU funds to pay for food, medical supplies, and personnel on vessels hosting migrants offshore - provided that all legal conditions are met.

Opinion

EU silence on sickening scenes at Croatian border

If the European Commission is seriously committed to its fundamental values, it is time to put words into practice and condemns unlawful returns and violence at its external borders and demands perpetrators of such illegal acts are held to account.

Opinion

Could blockchain help EU process asylum claims?

Asylum proceedings are one of the biggest issues with the EU's migration policy, and digital identification through blockchain to register and track refugees would be an instrumental step towards the level of necessary reform.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden: Nord Stream probe points to 'gross sabotage'
  2. Orbán rails against Russia sanctions at Prague summit
  3. MEPs urge inquiry into Mahsa Amini killing and Iran sanctions
  4. Thousands of Hungarian students and teachers protest
  5. Swedish MEP cuts hair mid-speech to support Iran women
  6. Danish general election called for 1 November
  7. Slovenia legalises gay marriage, adoption
  8. Russia's stand-in EU ambassador reprimanded on Ukraine

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  2. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  3. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  4. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  5. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”

Latest News

  1. What actually happened at the 'most complicated election in the world'?
  2. Europe lays aside quarrels to isolate Putin
  3. Spyware-hacked MEPs still seeking answers
  4. EU leaders discuss gas price cap — amid rationing fear
  5. Germany braces for criticism of national €200bn energy fund
  6. The fossil-fuel agenda behind EU's carbon-capture plans
  7. Four weeks to COP27 — key issues and challenges
  8. EU wants to see US list on Russia financing of politicians

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us