A press statement by the Government published yesterday evening says that an agreement has been reached for the disembarkation of two NGO boats that have been in Mediterranean waters intercepting immigrants during the last few days.
Malta together with Italy and the European Commission have worked on a solution based on the principle of European solidarity. A number of European countries have already committed their cooperation and support and discussions are ongoing with others.
As a result of this agreement, the vessel Ocean Viking will enter Italian ports with more than 400 migrants on board. These migrants will then be distributed to European countries that have agreed with relocations.
The 77 migrants on board the Alan Kurdi will be transferred to a Malta Armed Forces vessel and then brought to Malta.
As a result of this agreement, Malta will assume the responsibility of 50 of the total saved migrants whereas the rest will be distributed amongst other European countries.
The Maltese Government notes that Malta is once again doing its part in being part of a solution a practicing European solidarity while insisting that it cannot take more than what it can cater for. Malta is already doing more than its fair share of solidarity and it is currently experiencing disproportionate pressure with its reception facilities under stress.
It must be stressed that the situation on the ground is becoming more difficult for countries on the frontier like Malta and therefore other European countries must also step up their efforts and participate in European solutions at a time when the migration issue is once again proving to be one of the main challenges for the European Union.
This point was also stressed by the prime minister yesterday in Brussels with the presidents of the EU Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament who all agreed on the need to support Malta via a European solution to what is ultimately a European problem.