Immigrants centres are accommodating twice the number they can cope with – Malta asks for help

Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo said that Malta has 4,000 immigrants living in centres, when these centres can only accommodate 2,000 people.

In a message on social media, Minister Bartolo said that this is this is the reason why 301 irregular immigrants are being held at sea.

He pointed out that from 2005 to date, EU countries such as Germany, France,  Ireland, Portugal, Luxembourg and Romania have taken 8 out of every 100 immigrants which landed in Malta.

He confirmed that from the around 1,500 refugees who have landed this year to date, only France and Portugal have promised to take 36 irregular immigrants.

He asked why European newspapers have chosen to bring up a story which had been dormant for at least 13 years, about alleged espionage by Chinese employees at Dar Malta, which following the investigation of Belgium’s secret service, turned out to be not sure.

Meanwhile, in a recorded message, the Minister said that 1% of the population in Malta are irregular immigrants who are waiting at the centres to have their application processed. He said that since 2005, around 9% of our population came from routes of irregular migration.

He added that in the first three months of this year there was an increase of 438% in arrivals from the routes in the Central Mediterranean. In April, the number was three times as much. It is expected that this number will continue to increase as summer approaches and the situation in North Africa worsens.

“Words of sympathy are not enough. We need practical help. We need to relocate a number of immigrants to other countries.”

The Minister said that Malta cannot be left alone to carry the burden of this disproportionate number of immigrants, and although it would continue to do its part, it will not be the crisis centre of Europe.

“When Malta joined the EU, it understood that it had joined a group of countries which share responsibilities, aspirations and values.” He said that in the past, Malta had always helped with every means possible, because it believes in values, and now it is asking for solidarity in return.

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