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