The Eurobarometer commonly asks the Maltese to checklist their prime two nationwide considerations.
Within the newest survey performed in July 2020 on the top of the COVID-19 pandemic, 58% of Maltese listed migration as their prime fear, in comparison with simply 25% for well being.
However does concern on migration replicate fluctuations in boat arrivals?
Because the election of a Labour authorities in 2013, immigration has topped the checklist of Maltese nationwide considerations in all 15 Eurobarometer surveys bar one. The one exception was a survey in November 2017, which noticed crime emerge because the topmost concern within the wake of the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
This contrasts with pre-2013 considerations, when immigration solely topped the checklist twice in ten surveys held between 2008 and 2012, eclipsed by considerations on electrical energy tariffs, inflation and the financial scenario following the monetary and financial disaster of 2009.
This can be a sign that immigration stuffed a void after the newly-elected Labour authorities decreased vitality payments and the economic system began on its unprecedented progress path. Whereas concern on immigration between 2008 and 2012 coincided with fluctuations within the quantity in boat arrivals, this has not been the case after 2013.
Certainly, the interval after 2013 is marked by a heightened enhance in authorized labour migration from the EU and non-EU nations, because the desk exhibits. This type of migration far outstripped ‘unlawful’ arrivals of asylum seekers, whose entry system to Malta is handicapped by the circumstances of emergency it takes place in.
Concern over immigration below a Nationalist authorities between 2008 and 2012 typically coincided with fluctuations within the variety of boat arrivals. A dramatic enhance in arrivals in 2008 pushed immigration to the highest of the checklist, however fell to fourth and fifth place in 2010 after arrivals fell to 47, following a pushback settlement between the Italian Silvio Berlusconi authorities and the Gaddafi regime.
However MEP elections in 2009 additional contributed to migration considerations, after Labour turned migration into its prime marketing campaign difficulty. A Eurobarometer survey held in June 2009 noticed concern on migration peaking at 49%.
In distinction, below a Labour authorities concern on migration peaked at 76% and 65% in two surveys held in 2015, regardless of a pointy drop in arrivals following an settlement between the Letta and Renzi governments, which noticed Italy taking in all migrants rescued in Malta’s Search and Rescue Zone.
One issue contributing to this surge in concern on migration was the radicalisation of political discourse on migration following the aborted pushback by Joseph Muscat in July 2013. Actually, concern on migration elevated dramatically from 29% in Could 2013 to a staggering 63% in November 2013.
One other contributing issue was the surge in international staff. Regardless of the lull in boat arrivals in 2015, Malta registered the very best optimistic web migration – distinction between immigration and emigration – for the last decade at four,176. That 12 months, 12,831 migrant staff arrived in Malta in 2015 – greater than 3 times as a lot as a decade earlier. And the surge of concern on migration additionally coincided with a surge of terrorist assaults linked to Islamic fundamentalism in 2015.
Concern on migration did drop to 33% in Could and November 2017 in a 12 months the place boat arrivals had dropped to 20. Furthermore, elevated numbers in 2019 noticed a report three,405 boat arrivals, which noticed concern on migration rising once more to 65%.
Regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic, concern on migration remained larger than that about well being and financial scenario in a survey held in July. The survey held in July coincided with a lull in infections at the start of summer time and a extra hawkish stance by Prime Minister Robert Abela, who used the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to dam ports whereas refusing to save lots of migrants in misery.