The dynamics of a migration “deal” struck between Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his former Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi were on Sunday questioned by Opposition leader Adria Delia.
The “deal” saw a significant drop in migrant boat arrivals over the past few years in Malta, with Italy taking in the bulk of arrivals.
Speaking during an interview on the PN's radio, Dr Delia questioned what sort of arrangement had been made between Dr Muscat and Mr Renzi adding that the arrangement must have been a deal between two individuals.
The election of a new populist government has seen several skirmishes between Malta and Italy over migrant boat arrivals in the last few weeks.
He asked if it was even possible for Dr Muscat to strike a deal that did not bind the state.
“Don’t we have a right to know about this? Why was this [deal] not published or renewed,” he asked.
Dr Delia said the PN supported the government on migration, as long as it obeyed the law.
He said the government had portrayed a recent EU summit about migration as a victory, but in reality nothing had changed.
Turning to Pilatus Bank, Dr Delia said Malta had suffered reputation damage due to the government’s inaction.
The government, Dr Delia said, knew the bank was a bad apple, yet decided not to act.
He said the bank should never have been given a license by the MFSA in the first place.
The bank was set up using dirty money and was used for illicit purposes, he said.
Dr Delia said he was still waiting for someone to shoulder responsibility for what had happened.
He warned that the erosion of Malta’s reputation as a financial services sector had a ripple effect on other economic sectors.
Dr Delia lambasted the government for not having a plan about where to house the 70,000 foreign workers it was hoping to attract over the next four years.
He asked what the impact on the rental market would be and what would be done to help vulnerable Maltese families.
The Opposition leader also criticised the government’s decision to road planning powers away from local councils.
Dr Delia said the government wanted complete control over how road works contracts were given.
This would remove transparency in the award of such tenders, Dr Delia said.