The Malta Independent 26 September 2018, Wednesday

EP will keep up pressure to find solutions to migration problems - Antonio Tajani tells PN MEPs

Thursday, 12 July 2018, 10:30 Last update: about 4 months ago

In a meeting with Maltese MEPs David Casa, Roberta Metsola and Francis Zammit Dimech, the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani emphasised the European Parliament’s support for the Maltese people on the biggest challenges ahead, in particular migration flows from Africa. "Malta is a frontier country for migration flows from Africa. We cannot leave Malta, or Italy or Greece alone in facing migration challenges. We are working for a long-term solution, involving the stabilisation of Libya, which I just visited this week, and agreements with transit countries like Niger, which I will be visiting also next week to promote a concrete dialogue and engagement with Africa", said Tajani in the meeting with the Partit Nazzjonalista delegation in Brussels.

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The Maltese MEPs highlighted concerns with the Dublin Regulation reform still not agreed to by governments in the European Council and underscored the need for a European approach to migration. On this, President Tajani said "Reinforcing our external borders and investing in Africa are imperative for a long-term solution to migration. In the short term however, we must see that no country is subject to migration pressures alone. It is simply unthinkable for us to leave Malta alone in this regard. We must have a sustainable and fair distribution of migrants. Parliament is very clear on this. Also thanks to the strong role played by the Maltese members, we have already voted in November last year for a reform of the Dublin Regulation which would reassure the Maltese citizens with an automatic distribution mechanism."

Partit Nazzjonalista MEPs also pointed out the challenge of the forthcoming EU budget negotiations, where Malta secured a €1.128 billion package under the Gonzi administration in 2013. The package proposed by the Commission in May for the next 7 year period would see an important reduction of cohesion funds, which are the lion's share of Malta's allocation. In this regard, President Tajani declared that the European Parliament is adamant in not slowing down European cohesion policy, which has accounted for much progress in several Member States including Malta.

Finally President Tajani enquired on progress in the investigation of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. In this regard he stated that “We will continue to make pressure on the Maltese authorities to ensure that the masterminds of Caruana Galizia’s murder are identified and brought to justice. The murder of a journalist is an attempt to freedom of expression itself. It's an attempt on our most important values of democracy. If impunity reigns after that, then the rule of law itself is put into question. The European Parliament will also continue to make pressure with the European Commission to introduce measures to protect journalists across Europe.

"We will also be vigilant in seeing that the rule of law is applied in Malta to the full. It is for this reason that we established a dedicated working group on the situation of the rule of law in Member states, with special attention to Malta. We take note of the country-specific recommendations by the European Commission highlighting the need to step up efforts in Malta on the implementation of money laundering legislation. We are convinced that the Maltese people want to uphold their reputation in Europe and see that the rule of law prevails in every aspect”, concluded Tajani.

President Tajani also referred to next year’s European elections and said that the European Parliament has already initiated its communications campaign to encourage European citizens to vote and chose their representatives at a European level. He commended the efforts of the MEPs to explain to the Maltese population what the European Parliament has achieved to benefit Malta, and how have decisions taken by MEPs in this legislature have led to better quality of life for Maltese families and businesses.

The President of the European Parliament praised MEPs David Casa, Roberta Metsola and Francis Zammit Dimech for their hard work at the European Parliament, representing the interests of the Maltese and Gozitan people. “I have worked closely with MEPs Casa, Metsola and Zammit Dimech, and I know their sheer dedication and professionalism in what they have done at the European Parliament,” said Tajani.

MEPs Casa, Metsola and Zammit Dimech thanked President Tajani for his commitment to Malta and his proximity to the Maltese people, and said that they will continue to work on behalf of all the Maltese people in the months to come.

European elections in Malta will be held on Saturday 25th May 2019.

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