The EU’s deal with Turkey had merely resolved one of the migration problem routes and shifted pressure onto countries like Egypt and Libya, the Prime Minister warned last night.

“We might have solved one of the migration routes by reaching an agreement with Turkey. But there are other routes and therefore Europe hasn’t solved the problem. On the contrary, we are yet to see an increase in migrants crossing from other regions,” Joseph Muscat said.

Dr Muscat was speaking during a conference organised by the European University Institute on The State of the Union in Italy.

Under an accord struck with the European Union, Turkey has agreed to help stop illegal migrants reaching the continent in return for accelerated EU accession talks, visa liberalisation, and financial aid.

But Dr Muscat warned that it was not enough to help Turkey. Countries like Lebanon and Jordan face big migration problems and are asking for European help as well.

Likewise, the EU is not taking enough care of Libya where the tension remains palpable, he said.

Europe needs to build its future by building less walls and injecting more trust, the Prime Minister said. European countries need to trust each other more to counter the problems in the economy, security and immigration.

The conference was also addressed by European Council president Donald Tusk, European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker and European Parliament president Martin Schulz.

Dr Muscat also held a bi-lateral meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi where the two agreed that the Mediterranean should be given priority during Malta's EU presidency in 2017. 

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

Support Us