Malta is often the first place in Europe that migrants coming from Libya reach and, in spring 2019, the attitude towards them was particularly hostile. In the preceding years, it had taken in thousands of people, but the hospitality had dried up. At the same time, the EU’s search-and-rescue boats had disappeared from the sea. The strategy was to co-operate with the Libyan coastguards, to prevent and deter people from making the journey.



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