The Malta Independent 25 June 2017, Sunday

Italy views Maltese EU Presidency as highly relevant with regard to migration and security

Wednesday, 4 January 2017, 18:30 Last update: about 7 months ago

The migration crisis and the bolstering of the EU's internal security topped the agenda during a bilateral meeting held today between Malta's Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Carmelo Abela and the newly-appointed Italian Minister of the Interior, Marco Minniti.

The meeting took place in Valletta yesterday and it was the first ministerial bilateral for Minister Abela since, on 1 January, Malta took over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. 

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 After giving Minister Minniti an overview of the Maltese Presidency's six overarching priorities, Minister Abela said that, in his role as chairperson of the Council meetings that bring together the bloc's Ministers of Internal Affairs, he is aware that the Union's very future depends on the decisions that its Member States will be taking at this point in time vis-à-vis the migration phenomenon. On his part, Minister Minniti pointed out the existing excellent cooperation between the two neighbouring countries, which share a common vision on several issues. Hence, Italy regards the current Maltese Presidency as one of high relevance for migration and security.

The two ministers agreed on the importance that, in the coming six months, crucial decisions are taken on migration in Europe. They noted that Malta will, for many years to come, be the last Mediterranean country to hold the EU Presidency. Furthermore, as a frontier country, Malta has for long years been directly affected by migration and by the challenges posed by its management. Therefore, it is in a very good place to understand how extraordinary the effort made by Italy and how crucial was is this issue for the whole of Europe.

The past years have witnessed shifts in the migratory routes that has brought the migration issue at the doorstep of countries who had hitherto not been directly concerned. "Today, migration is no longer relevant only to a few Mediterranean countries. It has become an issue of concern to the whole of Europe, and every country must come together in a bid to find a common solution," the Ministers said.

Minister Abela said that Malta will work so that, within the EU, the Member States remain committed to migrant relocation and to effective solidarity. At the same time, relations with third countries of origin must be strengthened to ensure returns of failed asylum seekers. Besides, these countries need to be helped to increase investment within their territory so that less people feel the need to embark on a perilous journey to Europe.

Ministers Abela and Minniti expressed their optimism that Italy and Malta will take further their commitments and cooperation on such crucial issues.


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