Allowing the German NGO vessel Alan Kurdi to disembark 40 migrants at Malta was “a sign of goodwill” and “common sense”, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Sunday.
The migrants, rescued by the vessel on Wednesday and later banned from Italian waters, are expected to be brought to Malta on Sunday. They will then be redistributed among EU member states.
Speaking in a One Radio telephone interview, Dr Muscat said the German government had asked Malta to allow the migrants to be brought to Malta before they were relocated to Germany.
“I felt we should accept this,” Dr Muscat said, pointing out that it would not only be a gesture of goodwill but also “common sense” in light of the fact that this was ultimately a humanitarian issue.
Giving an overview of the week’s events, Dr Muscat said that in recent days it was clear that the government does not stop working in summer, pointing to the work being carried out on Malta’s roads.
Improving the infrastructure, however, did not only mean upgrading the island’s roads, he said, referring to an agreement the government signed with the Vodafone last week to 'deliver innovation'.
Together with Vodafone, the government will be introducing a project involving app information on parking availability in Luqa. A similar project is being piloted in Qormi, he went on.
The government is also working on ensuring the change to electric cars and zero-emission vehicles in the coming years is seamless and does not impact drivers.
“Our plans for the change to electric cars and zero-emission vehicles, I dare say, is the most ambitious and the best in Europe,” he said.
Dr Muscat went on to thank the Kamra tal-Periti, after it was announced on Saturday that the directive against revised construction rules was being lifted.
“I would also like to thank the Malta Developers Association who worked with us on this. I think that this is the way one should work. Whenever there is an issue, we sit down to address it,” he said.
Lowenbrau and Jason Azzopardi
The Prime Minister also referred to news last week that Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi had lost a libel case appeal he filed against Justice Minister Owen Bonnici.
Dr Azzopardi had sued the minister after Dr Bonnici claimed during a press conference in January 2017 that Dr Azzopardi had met with entrepreneur Nazzareno Vassallo and assured him that they would reach a “compromise” for a deal concerning the site of the former Lowenbrau factory in Qormi.
Dr Muscat said that it was high time Dr Azzopardi took political responsibility for the deal, insisting that Opposition leader Adrian Delia should have also reacted by taking action. This, Dr Muscat said, would serve as proof that Dr Delia “means business”.
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