Tag Archives: Top News

Migration, EU to propose new approach for a permanent solution

The High Representtive of the European Union Joseph Borrell declared that the European Union is proposing a new pact for asylum migration, a new approach, a permanent solution for illegal migration. Borrell held talks with the Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela during an official visit to the mediterranean island.
Abela stated that Malta’s position on migration will not change. “Malta should not be pressured to allow migrants to enter its shores when the migrants were not let to disembark at the nearest and safest port.” The Maltese Prime Minister was referring to the group of 52 migrants who were rescued last Saturday by the merchant vessel Talia. “The nearest safe port for this particular group of migrants was Italy and then the boat moved towards Malta. Unfortunately the issue remains on the disembarkation on these migrants,” said the Maltese Prime Minister.
“It is not our problem but partly our problem and that is why Malta needs help from the European Union. The number of countries offering help is encouraging but is relatively small,” added Robert Abela.
The Maltese Prime Minister also mentioned the co-operation of the Libyan government towards Malta.
Photo by Roderick Agius

Source: medNews

Migration, Malta insists on the protection of borders

The Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela said Malta and Libya recognize the need for more protection of the borders of both Eastern Europe and the central Mediterranean, southern Libya and more areas in both contintents. The Maltese Prime Minister was meeting the Libyan Prime Minister Faiez Mustafa Serraj who is on a state visit in Malta.
Robert Abela said that Malta considers Libya as a “trustworthy friend” and the Libyan people “as brothers of the Maltese and Gozitan people.” He added that the Maltese government wants this cooperation to continue, based on mutual trust.
The President of the Libyan Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord Faiez Mustafa Serraj arrived in Malta on Monday. He said that the aim of his frequent visits to Malta is to increase consultation between two countries on various issues of common interest. The President of the Libyan Council stressed that the challenges in the Mediterranean region must be faced together in order to create new opportunities for the benefit of the Maltese and Libyan people.
The Maltese Prime Minister thanked the Libyan government for “the work to protect and save lives in the Mediterranean.” He explained that Malta had been receiving a number of migrants for many years due to the criminal activity of human trafficking. He said these pressures have continued to increase and intensify in recent months.
Robert Abela remarked that this issue was discussed many times with Libya, with European and African partners as well as with others. The Maltese Prime Minister reiterated that this cooperation covers other important issues such as border protection and the need for more investment to ensure prosperity and security in the Mediterranean region.
“The Immigrant Coordination Center, which was inaugurated today in Malta is considered by the Maltese government as the first step in this direction,” said Robert Abela. Last May, the Maltese Prime Minister led a delegation to Libya on an unannounced official visit. During that visit, the two governments signed a memorandum of understanding in which they committed themselves to continue addressing human smuggling and trafficking from the war torn country to Europe.
Robert Abela confirmed the support of the Maltese people at this difficult time Libya is facing. “For us, Libya must be Libyan and led by Libyans. The Maltese Government will continue to support Libya and will encourage more investment so that Libya will build itself again and regain stability.”
Meanwhile, the Maltese Government announced that 284 migrants that are currently in Malta will be relocated to other European Union member states. The process will be co-ordinated by the European Commission. The Maltese Government said that the negotiations on the relocation of these migrants started during the period when the Maltese ports were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and the state of emergency declared by the government.

Source: medNews

Malta, first imported Covid-19 case after the reopening of the airport

Malta has registered the first positive case of Covid-19 just 24 hours after the reopening of its international airport. This case which was confirmed in the last hours, was imported from abroad.
According to the Ministry of Health, the passenger showed symptoms similar to those of Covid-19. A male passenger arrived on an Air Malta flight from Amsterdam two days ago on the very first day that the airport was opened. The crew on board the Air Malta flight, were asked to do self-isolation at home.
Currently, the total number of positive cases for Covid-19 in Malta is at the level of 672, while the total number of those who have recovered is 650, with an increase of another person in the last 24 hours. Thus, the total number of active cases remained at 13.

Source: medNews

Malta opens its borders

As no new cases of Covid-19 have been reported for the fourth consecutive day, last night the Maltese authorities have lifted the public health emergency which was imposed on March 7. So far, Malta has only 15 active cases of COVID-19 while 647 patients have recovered and nine lost their life.
The airport reopened today, after it was closed to contain the COVID-19 virus pandemic. The first passenger plane was a Ryanair flight from Vienna which landed shortly before 9am. This flight was followed by an Air Malta flight which departed from Fiumicino airport. 81 flights are scheduled this week and will bring 1,300 passengers to Malta.
Alan Borg, Malta International Airport CEO said “the landing of the first Ryanair flight following almost four months of suspended commercial activity officially marks the start of a journey towards recovery.”
Malta is one of the last EU member states to reopen its borders, and will allow travel to and from 22 different countries after three months flight ban. These countries are: Austria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Italy, France, Slovakia, Switzerland, Greece, Croatia, Spain and Poland. The Maltese government revised the decision to include Italy, France and Spain without any exceptions.
Johann Buttigieg, the CEO of Malta Tourism Authority said that Malta welcomes the recommencement of flights as the global tourism industry emerges from the COVID-19 shutdown period. “The international praise and recognition that Malta has received for its exemplary management of the pandemic makes us look forward to welcoming tourists back to our safe islands where tourists’ wellbeing is paramount. We commit ourselves to continue working with our airline partners to leave no stone unturned to re-grow tourist numbers within the shortest timeframe possible.”
The Malta International Airport instructed all passengers to arrive at the terminal at least 2.5 hours prior to the flight’s departure time. This is to allow enough time for all regular airport procedures, as well as coronavirus-related procedures such as thermal screening. Face masks or visors are compulsory except for children who are under 6 years old, or for people who have valid medical reasons. It is also recommended to have a bottle of hand sanitiser handy, although there are 120 sanitising stations around the terminal. Safe distances have been indicated through the signage and floor markings fixed around the terminal, although members of the same household can travel together as a group.
The national carrier Air Malta stated that all travelling customers must fill a health declaration form prior to boarding the aircraft. Passengers not in possession of the form may be refused boarding. The aircrafts are equipped with high-efficiency filters which remove particles including bacteria and virus clusters.
Virtu Ferries which operates from Valletta to Pozzallo is asking all holiday makers travelling to Sicily to register their personal details on the Sicilia Si Cura application as requested by the Sicilian authorities. All travellers departing Pozzallo are also requested to show their Public Health Travel Declaration.
Meanwhile, Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses Silvio Schembri confirmed that as from next week the government will start distributing the €100 vouchers.
Last month, the Maltese government announced that for each resident in Malta and Gozo aged over 16 will receive five €20 vouchers. €80 can be used in hotels, restaurants and bars, while the remaining €20 can be used in shops that were closed during the pandemic.

Source: medNews

Neil Agius completed succesfully the Sicily-Malta swimming challenge

Maltese swimmer Neil Agius, 34, completed his 100km swim from Sicily to Malta to raise awareness for Wave of Change Malta, which organises the ‘Clean Seas Campaign’ and against the dumping of plastic in our seas. It was around 9.15 on Friday morning when Neil Agius reached the Maltese shores at St. Julian’s in front of hundreds of people who welcomed him in complete euphoria.
The swim took just under 30 hours after he set off from Ragusa in the early hours of Thursday morning, swimming nonstop and unassisted. At no point he was allowed to even touch the boats accompanying him.
In his first comments, Neil explained that at no time did he give up despite the fact that at times he stated that he was overwhelmed by various emotions, both those that make you smile and those that make you cry. However, he stressed that he was determined to successfully complete his challenge with the aim of inspiring others.
Neil Agius said that training is the hardest part of all of this; he swims six times a week which includes waking up at 1 on Friday morning and going swimming for 9 hour, and then doing it all again on Saturday.


Source: medNews

Sicily-Malta, swimmer raising awareness of marine environment

Maltese swimmer Neil Agius this morning was in Sicily as he started his attempt to swim to Malta and become the second man to ever succeed in this epic challenge. Neil is 34 years from Hal Gharghur. He has been swimming since he was seven years old and represented Malta at the Athens Olympics. He is trying the almost impossible; swim from Sicily to Malta: 100 kilometers from Pozzallo to St. Julian’s. The challenge began as part of the Wave of Change campaign against dumping plastic into the sea.
Neil started this challenge at 5 in the morning and the plan is to take a 35-hour swim to arrive at around 5 on Friday afternoon. If he succeeds, Neil will only become the second person to swim from Sicily to Malta. Nicky Farrugia did it in July 1985 when he swam from Punta Secca in Ragusa to Qbajjar in Gozo in 30 hours and 17 minutes. Half a century earlier, in 1933, Turu Rizzo had failed in the attempt when he was said to have stopped three miles away from Malta.
Neil, who already swam around Malta two years ago – 70km in 22 hours – is accompanied by a team of professionals and friends on three boats. Among them a doctor, as well as a race director and umpire to ensure that regulations are not violated. Neil cannot touch any boat or anything that keeps him afloat. In addition to fatigue and mental challenge, he did not wear a swimsuit and needs to combat obvious dangers in the open sea such as currents, heat and drought from the sun, big fish, and jellyfish. He will swim day and night, intending to stop for a minute and a half every half hour to take in special nutrients.


Source: medNews

Malta, Mizzi expelled from the Labour Party’s Parliamentary Group

Maltese Prime Minister and Labour Party Leader Robert Abela, Tuesday night confirmed that former Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi was expelled from the Labour Party’s Parliamentary Group. The announcement was made by the Prime Minister following a meeting that was held between the PL Parliamentary Group and the Executive Committee of the Party.  The decision on Konrad Mizzi follows the allegations concerning the Panama Papers and the secret company 17 Black registered in Dubai.

Early Tuesday evening, the Maltese Prime Minister has asked Labour’s MP Konrad Mizzi to resign from the Labour Party’s Parliamentary Group. The Labour Party held an urgent Parliamentary Group in which members of the group discussed,  whether Konrad Mizzi should be kicked out of the Labour Parliamentary Group or not. In a secret vote during tonight’s special session;71 members voted to remove Konrad Mizzi, 1 abstained and 1 voted against. During the discussion, there was a general consensus among members of the Parliamentary Group and the Executive Committee of the Labour Party that former Energy minister, Konrad Mizzi, must leave. Mizzi followed the proceedings online because he is under quarantine after his return to Malta after three months in the United Kingdom.

In a post on Facebook, Konrad Mizzi wrote that he respects Robert Abela and said he does not agree he should resign over recent allegations. Konrad Mizzi also wrote that he will continue to serve, as is his right, as a Member of Parliament.

The former Energy Minister together with former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and former Chief of Staff at the Office of the Prime Minister are facing corruption allegations. It was emerged in court this week, that 17 Black, the secret company registered in Dubai which is owned by businessman Yorgen Fenech, made a profit of €4.6 million following a decision taken in 2015 by the state energy company, Enemalta to buy a wind farm in Montenegro. Fenech is facing accusations in court as the mastermind behind the assasination of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galiza in 2017. Enemalta commissioned an internal investigation and asked the police to investigate.

However, Konrad Mizzi said in his Facebook post will remain in Parliament but naturally he will not be part of the Labour Party’s Parliamentary Group. Some weeks ago, Prime Minister Robert Abela had sent a message to Konrad Mizzi asking him to resign from the parliamentary group.

Recently former Economic Minister Chris Cardona resigned from Parliament and was forced to step down from Labour Deputy Leader for party affairs. His name was mentioned during testimonies in court proceedings that he financed part of the assasination of journalist Caruana Galizia.

Meanwhile, the Nationalist Opposition stated that following the revelations related to the Montengro scandal, former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat should be expelled from the Labour Parliamentary Group. However, Prime Minister Robert Abela said that ex-PM Joseph Muscat’s case is completely different from that of Mizzi’s because the only mistake he made was to not make the decision at the right time. For this, he has paid the ultimate political price, stated Abela.


Source: medNews

Malta, new Police Commissioner ready to prosecute former PM

During his first press conference, the new Maltese Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa’ declared that under his leadership, the Malta Police Force will not be influenced by anyone. He recognised that the police force is facing allegations on corruption amongst others and added that action will be taken while declaring that no abuse from police officers will be tolerated.

The new Police Chief declared “names do not impress me, we will investigate anyone… every case of corruption will be investigated and we will prosecute if we have proof.” He added that if there is any proof of any wrong doing, he will be ready to investigate former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, former Energy Minster Konrad Mizzi and former Chief of Staff at the Office of the Prime Minister, Keith Schembri.

Muscat, Mizzi and Schembri are facing various corruption allegations after it was emerged that 17 Black, the secret company owned by local businessman Yorgen Fenech, accused as the mastermind behind the assasination of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, made a profit of 4.6 million euro after a decision taken by Enemalta in 2015 to buy a wind farm in Montenegro.

Gafà also said that the recommendations by the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body, the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), will be enforced to ensure good governance and accountability.

During the press conference he also announced a change in the leadership of the  Economic Crimes Unit. The previous leadership was highly criticised by the Nationalist Opposition and the Civil Society because of the lack of action to investigate corruption allegations involving people in top positions.

Angelo Gafà is a former member of the Armed Forces of Malta, an investigator and police inspector who served for the past few years as the first Chief Executive Officer of the Malta Police Corps. He is succeeding former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar, who stepped down last January. Cutajar was faced by a lot of criticism, after he failed to investigate several corruption allegations involving the Labour government; which he denied.

Gafà was approved by the Public Appointments Parliamentary Committee on Monday evening. The Nationalist Opposition chose to boycott Gafà’s nomination. The Nationalist Party described the process which led to new Police Commissioner’s nomination as fake and farcical, since it still effectively left the choice of the police chief in the government’s hands.


Source: medNews

Malta, Abela calls for investigation into alleged corruption

Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela declared that he is disgusted by claims that 17 Black, the secret company set up  Yorgen Fenech, accused as the mastermind behind the killing of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, made millions off the decison taken in 2015 by Enemalta to buy a wind farm in Montenegro. The Maltese Prime Minister called for an immediate thorough investigation after an investigation by Reuters and The Times of Malta revealed that Fenech secretly funnelled €4.6 million into his secret company registered in Dubai. Two secred companies which were set up in Panama for former Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi and former Chief of Staff at the Office of the Prime Minister Keith Schembri, would receive €2 million from Fenech’s secret company based in Dubai, 17 Black.
In a brief statement on Saturday afternoon, the Police said that prior to the allegations, the issue was already subject of a police investigation. The Police had already started investigating the purchase of a wind farm in Montenegro by Enemalta, before the story hit the headlines on Friday. Local police are collaborating with Europol and are being assisted by other competent authorities. Prime Minister Robert Abela insisted that it was not yet the time to ask for the resignation of any of his MPs, including former energy minister Konrad Mizzi. Abela said “should any MP be subject to a police investigation the goalposts will shift, and on that day the MP and I will have to review our position.” He also insisted that if anyone is involved “it is best that they take the step before I have to. I guarantee I will not protect anyone, whoever erred will have to pay for their behaviour”, Abela added. Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat insisted that he had “nothing to hide” and he was making himself available to the police to provide them with any information they may require and to answer any questions they may have. Former minister Konrad Mizzi denied any wrongdoing and insisted that the purchase of the wind farm only brought profits to the national energy company. On Saturday morning, Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo declared “those involved in corruption, money laundering and tax evasion should be charged in court, their case should be heard quickly and be made to pay for their crime”.

Source: medNews

COVID-19, foreign workers in Malta excluded from receiving €100 voucher

Foreign workers in Malta showed their anger with the Maltese authorities after it became known that they do not qualify for the €100 voucher which is part of the financial package that the Maltese Government has promised to all residents in Malta who are over 16 years.

There are at least 100,000 foreigners living in Malta, with the high job creation rate and shortage of unemployed Maltese people forcing several businesses to look overseas to employ workers.  It is estimated that over 9,500 Italians are employed in Malta. According to the Central Bank of Malta, the number of Italian nationals participating in the Maltese labour market increased rapidly since the global financial crisis.

On June 9th, the Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela announced a financial package as part of the aid due to the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Among the measures, the Maltese government had announced a grant of € 100, which the Maltese Prime Minister had said would be given to all those residing in Malta and who are over 16 years. But today it became known that this assistance in the form of a voucher will be given only to those who are registered in the Electoral Register, that means only to those who have the right to vote in the general elections.

This decision provoked the foreigners working in Malta. Many have complained about the fact that they contribute to the Maltese economy by paying all taxes due to the Maltese authorities, but despite this, they are being excluded from receiving the €100 grant.

This voucher can be used in food establishments, restaurants and bars as well as in beauty parlours and hairdressers.


Source: medNews

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