Malta, Italy and Greece are all in for a terrible shock on migrant solidarity, the leader of UKIP Nigel Farage told Times of Malta, hours after a migrant relocation deal was hammered out at an acrimonious EU Council meeting.
“If you think you’re a part of some collegiate European Union to help you out of the migrant crisis you’ve got another thing coming. Look at the elections in Denmark, Finland, look at the rise of parties across Europe which will say no (to helping with migrants). You’ve got a major problem,” Mr Farage said.
Fractious European leaders argued into the early hours of this morning over how to handle a migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, eventually agreeing a plan to share out the care of desperate people fleeing war and poverty in North Africa and the Middle East.
The discussions split countries like Italy, Malta and Greece with Eastern European countries, which were reluctant to accept a migrant relocation system.
The EU-sceptic Mr Farage has warned against “waves of millions” of people from Africa coming to Europe if the EU agrees a common policy for tackling migrant deaths in the Mediterranean.
Sitting at the press bar during the EU summit, Mr Farage made it a point to highlight David Cameron’s failure so far to rally support for a treaty change ahead of Britain's in/out referendum in 2017.
“It’s been a disaster. The Prime Minister is talking about treaty change. Foreign Secretary Hammond said it was necessary to get treaty change to get the conditions we needed. And at the first hurdle where it’s been on the agenda at the summit it gets vetoed,” Mr Farage said.
“Amid the night of great disagreement and bickering at the European Council the only point of unanimity is that Mr Cameron can’t get support for the treaty change. He’s starting off in a weak place. Not a good start.”
Mr Cameron called Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Wednesday night to ask for support for Britain’s plan to amend the EU treaty.
Dr Muscat said Malta will not accept EU treaty changes by stealth.
Mr Farage said Britons’ expectations have been raised, because they have been told that a better deal is coming and if a better deal isn’t hammered out they might question the point of remaining EU members.
He dismisses any suggestions that Britain faces problems if it had to leave the EU.
“What is the cost of Britain leaving the EU? That Britain leaves the EU and Mercedes stops selling its cars in London? We’re now the EU’s biggest exporters in the world. Freedom of movement? I want to end that. Freedom of movement has damaged the British health service and education system and driven down the wages of British workers. It's benefitted the big land owners, the multi-nationals. If you’re rich you’ve benefitted. I want to have the Australian points system that we can choose whoever comes to Britain,” he charged.