The Labour Government is calling for a stronger degree of solidarity and responsibility sharing by EU institutions and member states on the immigration issue.
On the other hand, the usage of populist rhetoric by the same Government, as if Malta is facing some impending migration crisis is simply not on. This can only act as an incentive for far right xenophobes to raise their demands in the upcoming European Parliament elections. Or maybe Labour is attempting to court such voters.
If this is the case, I hope that progressive Labour MEP candidates - and, for the matter, candidates of other parties - refuse to participate in such populist electioneering.
Unless they want to fuel the far right sentiment, parties and candidates should put forward viable and socially just proposals which can be negotiated with other governments, and, with political parties with whom they are affiliated. Negotiating skills are essential in this regard.
I appeal to the media to give more prominence to the calls of NGOs, to the informed knowledge of experts on migration, and above all to the voices of migrants themselves. Such knowledge is essential for informed policy-making. One should also note that much academic research has been carried out on migration at the University of Malta. Is our Minister for National Security consulting such research?
As the European Parliamentary elections come closer, we can expect more sudden appearances of 'European' issues. We can also expect the increased articulation of populist rhetoric, ranging from crass nationalism to discourse of some heavenly manna which can solve problems in Maltese society. From one fantasy to the other, the spectacle will increasingly gain momentum.
This blog appeared on Malta Today, 5 July 2013