01 September 2020
The Maltese government is to spend €1 million a month to charter a ferry that will host people rescued at sea offshore, according to reports. It is alleged that the move is driven to distract attention from the government's failing response to the pandemic.
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Prime Minister to spend €1m a month to detain migrants on ship (The Shift, link):
"The government will be paying €33,500 a day, or over €1 million a month, to charter a massive vessel to host migrants offshore in a repeat move of a controversial decision taken earlier in the year when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country.
In May, Labour Prime Minister Robert Abela’s decision had cost taxpayers €1.7 million. He had justified the move as ‘necessary’ to control infections while taking the populist right-wing stand that ‘the EU must carry the burden’. It had failed and the migrants were brought onshore.
It is not yet known where the 127-metre-long vessel, which can host more than 350 passengers, will be moored while serving as an offshore detention facility.
The Shift is informed that while the government is trying to finance this massive expense using EU funds, Brussels has again signalled its difficulty to approve such spending on such a questionable move widely condemned by human rights organisations.
The Prime Minister’s decision is aimed at placating increasing discomfort with the Labour administration on the handling of the migration and COVID-19 issues. Only weeks after Abela declared that Malta ‘had won the war’ on the pandemic and that there would be no second wave, the country is listed as having the second highest infection rate per 100,000 people."
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