Only 10% of migrants relocated from Malta to EU countries in 19 years

Between 2002 and 2021, only 10% of migrants have been relocated from Malta to other EU Member States.

Statistics show that during this 19 year period, until April of this year, Malta has saved 23,007 immigrants crossing from Libya. 

The years Malta took in most of these immigrants were 2019, (3,405), 2008 (2,775), 2020 (2,281), 2013 (2008) and 2012 (1,890).

In these same years, our partners in the European Union and other European countries altogether, took in 2,202 irregular immigrants from our shores. This means that between them they offered a home to only 10% of the 23,007 that had sought asylum in Malta.

The countries that took in most of our migrants were Germany and France.

These are the countries that took in 2,202 of immigrants arriving in Malta: Germany (755), France (748), Spain (162), Portugal (151), Ireland (98), The Netherlands (82), Luxembourg (54), Norway (38), Finland (32), Switzerland (19), Lithuania (13), Slovenia (10), Denmark (10), the United Kingdom (10), Romania (7), Poland (6), Belgium (6) and Liechtenstein (1).

Speaking to TheJournal.mt, Malta’s Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo said that Malta is working together with other Member States and Libya to meet the challenge of irregular migration, and insisted that the smallest EU Member State cannot succeed on its own.

“No country can succeed on its own. We cannot take in more migrants than we can support. We are the smallest country in the European Union with the highest population (1,380) per square kilometre.”

Every thousand people who enter Malta is equivalent to a million entering the European Union, with the most popular route currently being the central Mediterranean.

Every thousand people who enter Malta is equivalent to a million entering the European Union.

In April 2021, 121% more migrants left North Africa for Europe than in April 2020.

So far this year 6,583 migrants came from the central Mediterranean with most of them ending up in Lampedusa; 3,172 from the East Mediterranean, and 2,898 from the West Mediterranean. 

The European Union’s External Action Service (EEAS) says that from the beginning of the year till 17 May the Libyan Coast Guard picked up 8,853 migrants that human traffickers sent from Libya. According to the United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) in Libya there are 43,021 refugees or asylum seekers, mainly Sudanese (35%), Syrians (34%), and Eritreans (12%). Moreover, there are 4,300 migrants in detention centres in Libya.

Minister Bartolo has recently visited Libya together with European Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi and Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio, for talks with Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbejbah and other Ministers.

During the visit, all parties stressed that irregular migration is a human tragedy and that we should treat immigrants humanely and help as much as we can, providing shelter to those who flee war and persecution.

We should work with the countries of departure so that their people can find a better life in the country where they were born and grew up.

“We should help Libya to control its frontiers with the Sahel in Africa where human traffickers operate unchecked. They bring them over the border and take them to the coast to put them on boats bound for Europe. So we need to intervene in the South much more effectively. We also need to help the Libyan Coast Guard to pick up more migrants in boats that leave the Libyan coast.”

Minister Bartolo also stressed the need for the strengthening of progammes that ensure that those who don’t have a right for asylum are sent back to their country of departure. At the same time, ensuring that migrants are held humanely in centres in Libya and involve the UNHCR more in the way these centres are operated.

“Now we need to make sure that the seed sprouts and grows. Because we will be judged by the results, not by the words we say at news conferences,” said Minister Bartolo.

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