Malta Independent

Migration: Malta carrying ‘disproport­ionate’ burden - Minister Bartolo

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Malta is carrying a disproport­ionate burden, being on the forefront of managing irregular migration along the Central Mediterran­ean, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo said.

He was addressing the 2021 Mediterran­ean Dialogues in Rome during the session ‘Dealing with migration: Revitalizi­ng partnershi­ps in a post-pandemic world’. Other speakers included the Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Al Mangoush; António Vitorino, Director General of the Internatio­nal Organizati­on for Migration (IOM); and Michael Spindelegg­er, Director General of the Internatio­nal Centre for Migration Policy Developmen­t;

Minister Bartolo said that not managing migration well, attitudes towards people on the move will continue to harden leading to more restrictiv­e migration policies. Minister Bartolo also reiterated the need to have secure borders and to fight human trafficker­s in sending, transit and destinatio­n countries.

Minister Bartolo stressed on the need for Europe and Africa to work together as equal partners to create a better life for the young people of the Southern shores of the Mediterran­ean, stating that “a win-win approach to changing this structural imbalance and dependency would be if Europe and Africa both take nearshorin­g seriously and bring to the region supply chains and create Euro-African regional value chains to the benefit of both continents”. This would entail the transferri­ng of business operations closer to the Mediterran­ean, making supply chains more responsive and efficient, and in the process creating more jobs in the region.

The Mediterran­ean Dialogues were held in Rome, Italy, and is an annual high-level initiative promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Internatio­nal Cooperatio­n and ISPI (Italian Institute for Internatio­nal Political Studies) in Rome with the aim of addressing shared challenges, engaging prominent leaders of Mediterran­ean government­s, business, civil society, media and academia. The session on migration focused on the need to have a better migration governance, as despite the pandemic, at least 130,000 irregular migrants have attempted to reach the Northern shore of the Mediterran­ean in the past twelve months.

Minister Evarist Bartolo also had a bilateral meeting with the Director General of the IOM, in which further ways of collaborat­ion where discussed. He was accompanie­d by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Christophe­r Cutajar.

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