Maltese members of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) have expressed serious concerns at the lack of EU solidarity on the migrants’ issue.
The five Maltese members of the EESC have written to the President of the EESC, Luca Jahier, about the recent developments regarding trafficking of migrants from Libya through Maltese territorial waters.
“We are determined to bring the matter of illegal immigration through the central Mediterranean to the attention of the highest levels of the EU institutions,” said the Maltese members; Stefano Mallia and Tony Zahra representing the Maltese Employers, Philip von Brockdorff and Charles Vella representing the Maltese Trade Unions and Ben Rizzo from the Maltese Civil Society.
The EESC President said he has been informed about the situation facing thousands of migrants in camps run by human traffickers in Libya where the trade in people has become part of an ever expanding war business with migrants being forced to pay ransom money to be allowed to cross the Mediterranean sea to Malta or Italy.
The five Maltese members of EESC have informed Luca Jahier that Malta does not have the capacity in terms of personnel and/or physical space to allow more migrants to be kept in detention centres and therefore have asked him to raise the matter at the highest levels at the European Commission in order for the EU to:
- provide assistance to migrants and refugees stranded in Libya and prevent people from risking their lives by embarking on dangerous journeys
- have an enhanced EU presence in Libya to apply diplomatic pressures on the Libyan regime to stop human trafficking
- provide Member States Malta and Italy who are in the frontline of human trafficking and migration from Libya with support by reviewing the voluntary burden-sharing scheme, which has not and is not working, and allocating migrants to all 27 EU countries according to population and land area size
The Maltese members have added that these actions can help address part of the problem of migration and avert possible deaths at sea of migrants embarking on very dangerous journeys.
They believe that the EU needs to invest more time and financial resources as well as enhancing its relationships with Libya and other third countries, which are the source of many of the migrants.