EU Commission ‘in total agreement’ with Malta’s priorities for EU presidency – Juncker
The European Commission is in total agreement with the six priorities presented by the Maltese government for the EU Presidency, especially when it comes to tackling the issue of migration, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker said at a press conference at the President’s Palace.
He added that he believes that Malta is prepared in the best possible manner to have a successful Presidency.
The six priorities are migration, the single market, security, social inclusion, Europe's neighbourhood and maritime issues.
It was for this reason, he said, that he urged Malta to present a proper solution to the refugee crisis, shedding light on the fact that even though the relocation directive is set to expire at the end of the year, it is yet to be implemented by the member states.
In her address President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca said that the six priorities are reflective of the important issues Maltese citizens face.
The President called on a more united Europe to embrace the challenges currently facing the EU and begin to review and reform the European project.
Speaking about the current political climate across Europe and America, which has seen a rise in far right movements, she said that while people may look to build walls and more borders, it is important to be reminded of the massive gains the EU has made by being united.
The EU, she said, should look to create a closer relationship with the average European citizen in order to understand the concerns of each individual.
She said that institutions should be connected to aspirations of the European people and should reflect the principles of social inclusion.
The President pointed to poverty, social exclusion, and the refugee crisis as key issues which need to be addressed within the coming months.
A solution to these issues, she said, can only be achieved with unity and solidarity.
This does not mean that we should break from our traditions which embody our core values, but rather look to cultural synergy between member states. This cultural synergy pioneered by Dr Lola Solar, is an example as to the importance of also recognising the vital role women play in European Affairs, the President said.
The President also called on members of the College of Commissioners to “ensure that collaboration continues, while also ensuring that the social values of Europe are reflected in the social and cultural lives of our communities and nations.”
She closed by urging the EU to create a union where solidarity could become the defining characteristic of our European identity and become lasting benefit for both present and future generations.