Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo on Monday said Malta has been left to fend for itself on the migration issue, drawing a comparison from ancient Greek history. 

In what have become almost daily early morning Facebook posts, Bartolo on Monday compared Malta to the small Greek island of Melos, which some 2,436 years ago had been invaded by Greece while Athens waged war with ancient Sparta.  

Quoting the ancient Greek historian Thucydides, Bartolo said the Melian siege had shown how “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must”.

"The way Athens treated Melos is still cited as an example of how big countries treat smaller ones. Either gruffly or with kind words they say: 'you are small. It is not what you want that counts. But what we want.' The strong do what they like. The weak have to bow to their will. The weak find many who will preach to them. Those who investigate them. Those who accuse them. Those who condemn them. They find far fewer who will help them,” Bartolo wrote.  

Replying to his post, MEP Roberta Metsola noted that the European People's Party - the European Parliament's largest political grouping - had a plan to resolve the situation, in the form of a new migration policy. 

"Instead of using up valuable political capital, our Foreign Minister should come on board & start calling his EU Council counterparts to back the strategy," she tweeted.

Malta is refusing to bring ashore migrants rescued out at sea, instead choosing to hold them outside of territorial waters on a Captain Morgan tourist boat pending a “European solution” for their relocation.

In a  letter to the Commission, the government has hit out at the over 120 unrealised pledges made by other European countries to take in migrants over the past year, urging for a more predictable and mandatory relocation system. Malta closed its ports last month in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Meanwhile, in an earlier Facebook post on Saturday Bartolo said that the ongoing migration crisis makes him “feel like leaving politics”. 

The veteran politician – who only assumed the post of Foreign Minister in January – said over the weekend that he felt “very unhappy” and “frustrated” by the current situation and threatened to resign if he could not convince the European Union to help Malta share the load of incoming asylum seekers. 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us