The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Migration not about numbers but principles – PM Joseph Muscat

Friday, 9 November 2018, 20:58 Last update: about 5 days ago

Speaking at the last citizens' consultation meeting on the future of Europe held on Friday evening at Auberge d'Aragon entitled 'Have your say about Europe,' Prime Minister Joseph Muscat noted that migration was "not about the number but about principles".

The event was held in the form of a question and answer session with Muscat and moderated by the head of MEUSAC, Vanni Xuereb.

During his opening statement Muscat focused on work saying that ironically whilst millions of people from outside the EU see a future here, it does not inspire Europeans to live here and many look at places like Silicon Valley. This needs to be reversed Muscat insisted.

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Bureaucracy stopping enterprises from finding fertile land and flourishing is also still a problem, Muscat noted.

Mentioning Brexit he said that EU will be losing 28 of the best universities in the world amounting to 12%.

Answering questions from people in the audience Muscat focused on free trade between its member states. He said that whilst products trade is ok however when services are concerned there is a problem. Muscat also insisted that we should have an ambitious free trade agreement with countries who meet the EU's requirements.

Muscat also said that we should not push away those who take refuge in extremist politicians. These people in themselves are not generally extremities he noted.

Following a question about migration, Muscat said that Malta's current approach and one that it had always taken was a pragmatic one based on principles. He said these two are not mutually exclusive and were based on both life and national interest.

"It is not about numbers but about principles," Muscat noted.

Speaking about the EU, Muscat said that it had a year and half ago engaged the Libyan authorities to do two things: a coast guard that can patrol its fronts as well as to give the Libyan search and rescue area back.

This plan was realised and since then the coast guard have saved 14,000 people from drowning.

Muscat also said that the next EU budget would be a 'political budget' and not simply how much each country was going to give and take.


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