By Mohamed Najah.
Tripoli 12 July 2013:
Malta has staged a telling demonstration of its anger at the continuing flow of migrants, by threatening . . .[restrict]to flying a planeload of freshly-landed boat people back to Libya, the major departure point for EU-bound migrants.
The threat by Maltese PM Joseph Muscat was abandoned after an emergency intervention by the European Court of Human Rights, which said the “push-back” would be illegal. Four years ago Italy was likewise told that it could not deport migrants immediately to the last country they had left. Under European law, everyone arriving on EU territory is entitled to file an asylum request and no one can be deported until that request has been properly processed.
However, Muscat, pointing out that Malta had received more than 400 new migrants in just one week, 291 of them in a single dinghy, told the Times of Malta “ This is not a push-back. It is a message that we are not pushovers”.
Muscat has used the incident both to press EU authorities for assistance to help with the influx, which tends to be at its highest during the calmer summer weather, and to seek Libyan help in stopping migrants from leaving Libya. The majority of the migrants in this latest influx into Malta was from Eritrea. [/restrict]