The Malta Independent 23 April 2017, Sunday

Juncker looking forward to Maltese presidency, says agenda is in line with Commission priorities

Gabriel Schembri Wednesday, 11 January 2017, 15:59 Last update: about 4 months ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that he is hopeful for this Maltese Presidency and believes that the EU countries can work in unity. Once again, he warned against the discussions of grandeur and that the six months presidency will include a lot of wasted time in bureaucracy.

Addressing the journalists from all over Europe, accompanied by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, President of the Commission Jean Claude Juncker said that this was the sixth time he was visiting Malta. Juncker said that one of the times he was in Malta he was campaigning for Malta's entry to the EU, and "against the socialists", to which the Prime Minister, interrupting, said "against me".

ADVERTISEMENT

"Despite all this, the Prime Minister and myself enjoy a very good personal relationship," he added.

Juncker praised the Maltese government for the good preparation for this Presidency and said that the Maltese agenda is in line with the six priorities outlines by the Commission. "I'm sure we will be leaving Malta in a good mood," he added.

Replying to questions by journalists about the new power station in Malta and how the European Commission approved the project, President Juncker said that he does not interfere with the cases which fall under the respective commissioners. On the other hand Dr Muscat said that he is very pleased with the project and described the event as a landmark in Maltese history. "We have already reduced energy tariffs by 25% and this project will help us make energy more sustainable," he added.

On migration, the Prime Minister said that Malta does not have a 'silver bullet', but the Maltese government will try to pitch its thoughts on the issue. He said that Malta's position has always been open for burden sharing and that even when experiencing an influx of migrants from North Africa, the Maltese government has offered its solidarity. "We should stop blaming the people for electing politicians with extreme ideas. The public is asking the right answers but politicians are giving the wrong answers, but these are the only answers they are getting." Juncker said that the migration crises need a European solution because it is a European problem.

When asked by British media to comment about Brexit, the Prime Minister said that the UK should get a fair deal but this deal should not be equal to the full membership.

Photos: Jonathan Borg

  • don't miss