Mal­tese Pres­i­dency un­veils logo, pri­or­i­ties

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Malta, which will take over the ro­tat­ing pres­i­dency of the Coun­cil of the EU on 1 Jan­uary 2017, has un­veiled its logo and pri­or­i­ties, its over­ar­ch­ing ob­jec­tive be­ing to re­store trust in the Union.

The is­land na­tion of 445,000 in­hab­i­tants is as­sum­ing its first EU pres­i­dency since it joined the Union in 2004. It is part of a “trio” of pres­i­den­cies with in­cum­bent pres­i­dent Slo­vakia and the one which will take over for the se­cond half of 2017 – Es­to­nia.

Malta’s Deputy Prime Min­is­ter, Louis Grech, said he be­lieves that Malta’s pres­i­dency will start the process of restor­ing trust in the EU, and that it should serve as a start­ing point for the Euro­pean project to be sus­tained in a vi­able way.

The six pri­or­i­ties of the Mal­tese pres­i­dency have been out­lined in the fol­low­ing big ar­eas: Mi­gra­tion, the Sin­gle Mar­ket, se­cu­rity, so­cial in­clu­sion, Europe’s neigh­bour­hood, as well as on mar­itime is­sues.

‘Un­sta­ble back­ground’

The six pri­or­i­ties are in­tended to guide Europe in the cur­rent un­sta­ble back­ground, Mr Grech said. The pri­or­i­ties were re­ported to have been dis­cussed last week when the Mal­tese cabi­net at­tended meet­ings in Brus­sels with the pres­i­dents of the three Euro­pean In­sti­tu­tions.

Mr Grech fur­ther ex­plained that, faced with the is­sue of mi­gra­tion, Malta needs to en­hance and sim­plify the Com­mon Euro­pean Asy­lum Sys­tem in a way which will lead to a fair dis­tri­bu­tion of the load be­tween the mem­ber states.

In re­gards to the sin­gle mar­ket and the sin­gle dig­i­tal mar­ket, Malta will strengthen the ser­vices mar­ket by ad­dress­ing the is­sue of un­jus­ti­fied geoblock­ing and by re­mov­ing roam­ing charges in Europe, a mea­sure which should bring about a real change in peo­ples’ lives.

Re­gard­ing se­cu­rity, Mr Grech ex­pressed the view that sig­nif­i­cant progress must be reg­is­tered in or­der to im­prove how the Union’s ex­ter­nal bor­ders are man­aged, in­clud­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of a Euro­pean sys­tem for the reg­is­tra­tion of third-coun­try na­tion­als.

With re­gard to so­cial in­clu­sion, Mr Grech said that the EU should en­sure that women through­out Europe have full ac­cess to the labour mar­ket, that the is­sue of gen­der-based vi­o­lence is bet­ter ad­dressed and that gen­der bal­ance is im­proved in the as­sign­ment of cer­tain job ti­tles.

Malta’s deputy premier stated that in light of the grow­ing in­sta­bil­ity be­yond Europe’s bor­ders, the Mal­tese Pres­i­dency will fo­cus on spread­ing democ­racy and se­cu­rity in the ‘Eastern and South­ern Neigh­bour­hoods’, with a par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to sta­bil­is­ing and uni­fy­ing Libya.

In the mar­itime sec­tor, Mr Grech held the view that we need to pro­mote the bet­ter gov­er­nance of our oceans, in par­tic­u­lar, that of the South­ern Mediter­ranean basin.

The Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for the Pres­i­dency 2017 and EU funds, Dr Ian Borg, ex­plained that the se­lec­tion pro­ce­dure of the logo that will be rep­re­sent­ing Malta. He said that from a to­tal of 29 draw­ings, the con­cept of Alexia Mus­cat, show­ing the Mal­tese Cross, was cho­sen.

“The em­blem rep­re­sents our na­tion and re­calls the courage, loy­alty and per­se­ver­ance of our peo­ple”, Dr Borg ex­plained.

Mr Grech was clear in his state­ment that Malta will keep up its work, even dur­ing the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tion which in his words might re­sult in great chal­lenges and com­plex­i­ties in the agenda of the Mal­tese Pres­i­dency.

On Brexit, Mal­tese of­fi­cials have sent a mes­sage to Lon­don, say­ing the four free­doms could not be dis­en­gaged from each other.

The new egg-shaped build­ing of the EU Coun­cil will open its doors first dur­ing Malta’s pres­i­dency.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.