Foreign Minister at a high level political panel meeting in Vienna
On the invitation of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, Minister for Foreign Affairs George W. Vella participated as a key note speaker at a high level political panel meeting in Vienna discussing “European Migration and Refugee Policies - The Way Ahead”.
Referring to Malta’s experience in this field since the start of the migration influx faced from 2003 onwards, Minister Vella stated that migration has been at the heart of Malta’s foreign policy. He emphasised that migration cannot be addressed and solved by individual states alone and in this regard he underlined that migration is a shared challenge requiring shared solutions. Minister Vella underlined that migration requires collective action, long term strategies and comprehensive approaches.
In this context, Minister Vella recalled the successful Valletta Summit on migration which heralded a partnership between Africa and Europe and the Action Plan agreed on by the participating countries.
Minister Vella stated that the challenge remains to fully implement what was agreed in Valletta and in this context he made reference to the Valletta Senior Officials meeting, as a follow up to the Valletta Summit, which will convene in Malta on 8-9 February 2017 to take stock of the progress registered and to continue taking forward the implementation of the Valletta Action Plan.
Minister Vella also hailed the EU “Migration Compacts” with the countries identified as first priorities for action in terms of origin or transit of irregular migration, namely Niger, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mali and Senegal.
Whilst looking forward to these Compacts being extended to other countries such as Libya, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, he concluded that progress could only be registered if dialogue and action are undertaken in partnership with each and every country of origin and of transit of migrants.
The panel also included Austrian Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs Sebastian Kurz; European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn; the Secretary General of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe Lamberto Zanier and former Vice Chancellor of Austria and Director General of the ICMPD Michael Spindelegger.