Italy ‘sup­ports’ Mal­tese EU Pres­i­dency’s pri­or­i­ties in home af­fairs, se­cu­rity ar­eas

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Italy shares the pri­or­i­ties set by Malta in the home af­fairs and se­cu­rity ar­eas for its up­com­ing Pres­i­dency of the Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union and will be of­fer­ing its full sup­port, a De­part­ment of In­for­ma­tion state­ment said. Like Malta, Italy be­lieves that sub­stan­tial progress must be achieved on cru­cial is­sues such as mi­gra­tion and counter-ter­ror­ism dur­ing what will be the last ro­tat­ing Pres­i­dency to be held by a Mediter­ranean EU mem­ber state for many years to come.

In sep­a­rate meet­ings held in Rome on Wed­nes­day with Min­is­ter of the In­te­rior An­gelino Al­fano and Min­is­ter of De­fence Roberta Pinotti, Malta’s Min­is­ter for Home Af­fairs and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Carmelo Abela dis­cussed the chal­lenges cur­rently shared by the two neigh­bour­ing coun­tries and pos­si­ble ways of ad­dress­ing them suc­cess­fully. Both sides stressed the need to achieve a com­mon EU po­si­tion that will lead to prac­ti­cal and ef­fec­tive sol­i­dar­ity be­tween all mem­ber states in deal­ing with is­sues in a con­text where a num­ber of mem­ber states are cur­rently tak­ing on a dis­pro­por­tion­ate share of the re­spon­si­bil­ity.

An­other item that was high on the agenda of the dis­cus­sions was the sit­u­a­tion in Libya, par­tic­u­larly the lack of a sin­gle govern­ment that en­joys both in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion and ef­fec­tive con­trol over the coun­try’s ter­ri­tory, the re­sult­ing ef­fects on Euro­pean se­cu­rity and on mi­gra­tion flows via the cen­tral Mediter­ranean route, as well as the way for­ward.

With Min­is­ter Al­fano (photo above), Min­is­ter Abela also dis­cussed the im­por­tance of fully im­ple­ment­ing the EU’s Mi­gra­tion part­ner­ship frame­work agree­ments with key third coun­tries of ori­gin and tran­sit, as well as the Val­letta Sum­mit ac­tion plan. With Min­is­ter Pinotti, views were ex­changed on, amongst other things, Euro­pean and Mediter­ranean se­cu­rity post-Brexit, as well as bi­lat­eral re­la­tions in the de­fence field, such as mil­i­tary-tomil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion.

In Rome, Min­is­ter Abela also met with Ital­ian Sec­re­tary of State for Euro­pean Af­fairs San­dro Gozi, with whom he dis­cussed the Min­istry for Home Af­fairs and Na­tional Se­cu­rity’s prepa­ra­tions for the Pres­i­dency of the Coun­cil of the EU. He also ad­dressed a joint ses­sion of the Ital­ian Se­nate’s Euro­pean Af­fairs, Con­sti­tu­tional Af­fairs, and De­fence com­mit­tees, and fielded ques­tions from sen­a­tors on Malta’s up­com­ing Pres­i­dency. He em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of EU mem­ber states show­ing sol­i­dar­ity in prac­tice with one an­other in all cir­cum­stances and of up­hold­ing com­mon Euro­pean val­ues.

Dur­ing his visit, the Min­is­ter had the op­por­tu­nity to meet with four Armed Forces of Malta per­son­nel who are cur­rently de­ployed in Rome work­ing with the EU’s EUNAVFOR MED Op­er­a­tion Sophia and Fron­tex Joint Op­er­a­tion Tri­ton: Cap­tain Richard Vas­sallo, Cap­tain Neil Hamp­ton, Sgt Ken­neth Sti­vala, and Sgt Mark Grixti.

In his meet­ings in the Ital­ian cap­i­tal, Min­is­ter Abela was ac­com­pa­nied by Vanessa Fra­zier, Malta’s Am­bas­sador to Italy, Josette Zer­afa, Head of the Pol­icy De­vel­op­ment and Pro­gramme Im­ple­men­ta­tion Direc­torate, and Alessan­dro Man­gion, In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs Po­lit­i­cal Co­or­di­na­tor.

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