Last Wednesday, Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela welcomed EU Council President Charles Michel to Malta. The two leaders first accompanied the Armed Forces of Malta on a brief helicopter surveillance mission. According to Prime Minister Abela, no migrant boats were spotted which was unusual since it was quite common to see several boats, each with approximately a hundred migrants aboard.
Michel was then greeted at the Auberge de Castille, where a meeting between the two heads took place. During the meeting, the issue of migration was brought up, as Abela declared that Malta will not be accepting more EU funds to receive more migrants. “We do not believe the problem will be solved by throwing more money at it,” he insisted. Abela also stated that Malta was recently receiving more aid from Libya than the EU as a whole. He said that Libya needed aid from the EU, and that it should be viewed as a country that ‘deserves to be given its dignity back’ rather than a migrant source.
In response, Michel was in agreement that more cooperation was needed between EU states and less struggles over the migration issue. He proclaimed 3 priorities which he wished to be discussed by EU members. These were resources for border control, better asylum mechanism and cooperation with transit and source countries. Apart from that, he also acknowledged the efforts recently made by the Maltese government in addressing the rule of law.
The following day, the EU leader paid tribute to the fallen journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, at the site in Bidnija where she was assassinated by a car bomb 3 years ago. He said that the rule of law, freedom of speech and of the press are fundamental European values and that we must strive to promote them day by day.