Email from Malta

Thoughts on the EU Summit on Migration.

Email from Malta – Opinion Piece

On Wednesday, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th Month, I stood alone on the ramparts of Lascaris as the battery gun boomed over Malta’s Grand harbour to summon Malta to two minutes silence.

I reflected on the many sacrifices and hardships that the people of Malta have suffered and how well this small country looks now as it hosts the EU Summit on Migration.

It is ironic that the whilst the Great and the Good (and not so good) leaders from over 60 African and European Countries are gathered here and will thrall at the majesty of the new rebuilt Mediterranean Conference centre, there is disquiet in the backstreets of a refurbished Valletta from the ordinary people of Malta who see their lives disrupted and businesses disturbed if only for a few days.

But whilst the delegates focus on their five specific areas for action, I wonder if they will pause to consider the views of us common people on this largely unfettered influx of people.

All the evidence on the ground and from garnered statistics from responsible and respected institutions suggests that most Europeans have had enough of the high flying rhetoric, endless talk of human rights violations and the protection of vulnerable groups.

In the cafes of Valletta there is much talk in about the challenges of population insertion into Europe.

And they have taken note that, according to the UN, fully half of all the population increase globally in the next 35 years is expected to be in one continent: Africa. And that increase will mainly be in poorer, less stable countries, alongside massive growth in numbers in the most war-torn areas of the Middle East, such as Yemen and Iraq.

They note with increasing disillusion and some panic, that these are the very places that source the majority of migrants. They see very little infrastructure in place to stop such a potential flood tide of people. They are aware that the increase in Africa’s population alone is set to be 1.3 billion by 2050, about two-and-a-half times the entire population of the EU today.  The flood tide could become a waterfall. They don’t want it.

What the goof citizens of Europe want to see is positive and unified action now from the EU decision makers to stem the flow of illegals, with embedded terrorists and many many fit and active young people who could make their living elsewhere in the world if not in their countries of birth.

And whilst the delegates ruminate they might well turn to the citizens of Malta for some lessons learned.

Just down the road from the Conference centre the Malta at War Museum is running at Exhibition “the Hardships of Malta during WW2”   In this tiny but densely populated island, 5,524 private dwellings were destroyed, 9,925 damaged but repairable, and 14,225 damaged by bomb blast. In addition 111 churches, 50 hospitals, institutions or colleges, 36 theatres, clubs, government offices, banks, factories, flour mills and other commercial buildings suffered destruction or damage — a total of 30,000 buildings in all.

The island came very close to mass starvation. Yet after the War and given the mammoth task of reconstruction, the majority of its citizens stayed put and rebuilt.

Now Malta is thriving with one of the fastest growing economies in Europe.

Two Lessons to be learned from Malta.

(1) Politicians need to reflect the wishes of their people.

(2). “Get stuck in my own place” or as the Maltese people say “Jeħlu fil-post tiegħi stess” might be a Mantra we could all adopt.

Written by Malcolm Warr, EMEA Director, Maritime Services Management Ltd

The views expressed in MSR Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect those held by MSR or its staff.



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