The Malta Independent 5 August 2021, Thursday

Europe’s future needs to be based more on trust and less on barriers - Joseph Muscat

Saturday, 7 May 2016, 09:43 Last update: about 6 years ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat spoke of the need for more trust between European states in order to solve problems evident in the European economies, on security issues and on migration. "Europe's future needs to focus more on trust and less on barriers".

Dr Muscat said this during his address at a conference organised by the European Institute regarding the state of the Union. The government did not announce the PM's visit abroad and the statement was issued a day later.

Dr Muscat said that the migration question has not been solved, and that what was agreed with Turkey means that the problem and pressures on this issue moved towards other areas, like Egypt and Libya. He also said that it is not enough to help Turkey. There are other countries who are friends like Libya and Jordan who have migration problems and are requesting the EU's help.

 "There are other routes to Europe which have not been solved, and we will see an increase in migrants crossing from other areas".

One of Europe's problems, Dr Muscat said, is Libya. "I travelled to Libya a few days ago and met with the Unity Government. Tensions are still being felt, however the need to do something concrete for stability is also being felt".

Dr Muscat also spoke about the need for Europe to look toward economic growth as the key for the wealth to be divided among those most in need, including in the migration field.

He said that if economic growth occurs, migration at sustainable levels is good, as Europe needs more people in the workforce. "The important thing is to secure equality and justice in the way we treat people".

He closed the conference together with Italian President Matteo Renzi, and Dr Muscat was being interviewed by Financial Times European editor Tony Barber and the Firenze European University Institute President J.H.H Weiler.

The Italian Prime Minister spoke of his experience with Dr Muscat and called him a friend. He said that together with the Maltese Prime Minister, they passed through difficult European times as heads of government, when only Italy and Malta spoke of the migration issue in Europe. "Today, everyone speaks about migration".

Bilateral meeting

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat held a bilateral meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, where discussions focussed on the Italian proposal called “Migration Compact”.

There was agreement between the two, in the sense that Malta and Italy have always had a common position regarding the Migration problem.

Discussions also focussed on the Libyan situation, where Dr Muscat spoke of his meetings with the Unity government.

Prime Minister Muscat also spoke to Prime Minister Renzi about Malta’s EU Presidency and Malta’s priorities. They both agreed that the Mediterranean region must be given importance.

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