Malta’s Refugee Problem

58,000 asylum applications in the EU have been filed since the beginning of this year, the European Asylum Support Office said. Half are denied. Although migratory pressure on the EU is declining, asylum applications are increasing. Malta is one of the first to welcome migrant boats.

Malta – the island state, which systematically refuses to accept ships with migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, can not cope with migration itself.

Kurt Farrugia, spokesman for the Maltese government: The Mediterranean route is one of the most popular migration routes to Europe. That is why we always remind our European partners that migration is not just a problem for Malta, Italy, or Spain – it is a pan-European problem.

Because of the tensions with Italy – dozens of ships are standing between the two countries.

Kurt Farrugia, a spokesman for the Maltese government: Neither Malta nor Italy is legally obliged to accept ships with migrants. The ships are NGOs that take the migrants from the territorial waters of Libya and Algeria and then are coming here. That is why we call for pan-European solidarity.

To help Malta and the countries under pressure, the European Asylum Support Office is about becoming a full-fledged agency.

Every migrant stepping on the Maltese coasts and in Europe is first identified and registered. And the European office helps Member States in their decisions to approve the asylum application or not.

Malta is one of the few countries in the EU to give temporary shelter to people with international protection denied: if they observe the law and order, they work, pay their rent, they can live  on the island for 5 years.

There are three reception centers in Malta. Over the last 17 years, 20,000 migrants have arrived there. 

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