Malta’s share to Turkey to keep refugees from syria : €1.1 million. The collapse of the Schengen area not in Malta’s interests
The collapse of the Schengen area is not in Malta’s interests. Addressing the general meeting of the B’kara Labour Party Centre, former Prime Minister Alfred Sant said that one danger is that the Schengen area by which Europeans travel without frontier controls all over most of Western Europe could collapse in the next two months. ‘That would not be in Malta’s interest. The fundamental problem is that though the only way by which to contain the crisis is through a European solution, there is no real agreement between member states of the EU on the issue. Member states are not keeping their commitments and they are not trusting each other.’ emphasised Dr. Sant.
Dr. Sant said there are two areas where Malta needs to follow with attention. The first is the agreement with Turkey by which the EU is now trying to convince Turkey to keep on its territory the refugees flowing from Syria. The EU has promised Turkey the sum of 3 billion euros as compensation. 1 billion euros will come from the EU’s budget, member states will contribute the remaining 2 billion. Malta’s share of this as of now is 1.1 million euros.
The second area is the proposal to convert Frontex into an EU agency with direct control over the EU’s external borders. Frontex could in an emergency have the power to take over border control from national governments. That amounts to a big cession of sovereignty. Do we want this for Malta? asked the Maltese MEP.
Dr. Sant said that at the level of the European Parliament, there are many views about how these two issues should be tackled. He promised that the Maltese Labour delegation will continue to support the Malta government’s stand in this complex and difficult issue.
Dr. Sant said that the Maltese people need to take a direct interest in the European refugee crisis as it could influence their future in a big way. It is true that Malta seems to have been cocooned from the latest disruptions caused by refugees and immigrants coming over to Europe in their thousands from the Middle East. But it is an illusion to think that Malta can just ignore what is going on. The situation will remain problematic for as long as the civil war in Syria is not stopped and Libya remains a dangerously unstable country.