The Malta Independent 18 May 2022, Wednesday

Maltese EU presidency maintains strong momentum on jobs, growth, and migration

Wednesday, 21 June 2017, 19:42 Last update: about 6 years ago

The General Affairs Council chaired by Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli has yesterday defined the areas on which EU leaders will focus their discussions later this week at the European Council meeting. Among the priorities set for the EU leaders' meeting are migration, security, jobs, and digital Europe. 

During its tenure as Presidency of the Council of the EU, Malta has succeeded in maintaining the momentum on the issue of migration, and the European leaders' meeting will call on member states to step up coordination and delivery on all the elements contained in the Malta Declaration. The European Council is expected to place additional emphasis on the efforts that are needed to achieve real progress in return policy, particularly by putting in place a well-functioning readmission arrangements with third countries.

The General Affairs Council also adopted the Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2014-2020 mid-term review, allowing the EU to dedicate additional financial resources for new priorities particularly for jobs, growth and migration.

This was followed by a meeting of EU27, also chaired by Minister Dalli, to discuss the negotiations with the United Kingdom and its withdrawal from the European Union. The discussion focused primarily on the need to ensure a smooth relocation of European Agencies from the UK to other EU member states.

In a press conference following the meetings, Minister Helena Dalli highlighted Malta's record in contributing to the positive agenda during the Maltese Presidency of the Council. She further added that the "overall aim of the European Council is to help strengthen Europe and protect its citizens. That means taking the lead on tackling climate change, protecting Europe's borders, fighting terrorism, pursuing a robust trade policy, strengthening cooperation on security and defence, and shaping its own future as an influence for good in the world".

The press conference also focused on the UK's exit from the EU and was co-addressed by EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

Minister Dalli also chaired two intergovernmental conferences; the first with Montenegro during which Chapter 1 on the Free Movement of Goods and Chapter 22  on Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments were opened and the provision closure of Chapter 30 on External Relations. This was followed by the intergovernmental conference with Serbia during which two additional new chapters were opened: Chapter 7 on Intellectual Property and Chapter 29 on the Customs Union.

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