Archbishop Charles Scicluna said that the latest standoff showed clearly the need for a proper infrastructure at EU level where solidarity could be shown. A deal on the 49 asylum seekers rescued in two separate operations by two civil search and rescue NGOs, Sea Watch and Sea Eye will be disembarked later on, on Wednesday following the Government announcement on Wednesday morning.
Asked for a reaction by Newsbook.com.mt, Mgr Scicluna said that he hoped that the European Union would act on creating the necessary infrastructure for solidarity between member states when dealing with migration without further deal, saying that the EU could not have another standoff without a proper mechanism in place. Mgr Scicluna emphasized on the need of such mechanisms whether they are proportional or shared in nature.
The bishops of Malta had launched an appeal asking for concrete solidarity to be shown in the case of the 49 asylum seekers stranded out at sea on the civil search and rescue NGO boats, some of which had been at sea for 19 days. It was only on Wednesday morning that the Government of Malta announced that the asylum seekers will be transferred to patrol boats belonging to the Armed Forces of Malta and brought ashore. Mgr Scicluna defied the clampdown on NGO boats by visiting impounded vessel MV Lifeline on Saturday where he met to the crew.
Mgr Scicluna described the deal finally reached as “relief” and expressed huge gratitude to all the players involved in the concrete show of solidarity. He explained that the episode showed that by having everyone do their part and showing solidarity, we can be a presence of humanity in the Mediterranean. He also warned that by closing the doors to our hearts we would complicate other people’s lives.
When asked about their open letter to COMECE, Mgr Scicluna said while the bishops received no concrete replies, the results show that it worked. He explained that the episcopate was then left to work using their contacts.
He reiterated the bishops’ satisfaction at the results achieved.