THE British people, in particular, know that the tiny island of Malta can handle adversity; it would not have been awarded the George Cross during the Second World War unless its population had shown remarkable courage under peristent bombardment. So when Malta says it needs help its plea should be taken seriously. The call comes from Malta's foreign minister, Michael Frendo, who believes that the island's fellow European union members are not giving it the help with illegal immigration that it needs. Immigrants are ariving in large numbers from Libya and other North African countries. Although the numbers are not as great as Spain is experiencing in the Canary Islands, proportionately they are much more serious. Mr Frendo put it this way: “The landings in Malta in the last ten days are equivalent, in terms of respective population densities, to more than 50'000 immigrants arriving in Spain in the same period.” Mr Frendo thinks that Spain is geting all the EU help while Malta is being ignored. He says: “The European Union is dealing with Malta with the mentality of “small countries, small problems” and this is unacceptable.” The majority of the immigrants arriving on Malta probably have little idea where they have landed but when they discover how few opportunities there are for them there they will doubtless find ways of reaching mainland Europe. So the EU has a selfinterest, if not a duty, to help Malta cope with its unexpected and unmanageable influx.


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