The sixth of a series of citizens’ consultations organised by MEUSAC on the future of the EU was held on November 2. The consultation focused on the future of migration in Malta, migration management in the framework of the national strategy and the integration of refugees, asylum-seekers and EU Member State nationals.
Citizens’ consultations are being held in Malta and in another 26 Member States on the initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron. Madame Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs for France was present at the consultation session. The French Minister highlighted the importance of listening to citizens to shape the future Europeans want for themselves, saying that “Europe has never faced so many challenges”. Turning to the relationship between France and Malta, the Madame Loiseau noted that France and Malta shared the common value of solidarity, and thanks to this they have frequently cooperated in a fruitful manner.
Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli addressed the audience, stating that the theme of the discussion was of great relevance to Malta, as well as on a European level, faced by the rise of extremism. To this end, it was all the more important to listen to the people’s concerns on security, the labour market and integration. As a result, the government is placing citizens at the heart of its work on a European level.
On his part, Minister Michael Farrugia explained that Malta’s migration strategy is focused on migrant integration, especially the need to address the issue of human capital development among highly-skilled migrants. MEUSAC Head Vanni Xuereb said that during these consultations the citizens were the key players, the aim of such consultations was to have the citizens do the talking and make them form part of European policy-making.
Various attendees aired their views on cornerstone issues related to migration, of both a local and European nature. On the national level, some of the points raised included the rise in property prices, the integration and well-being of migrants, and the boat arrivals from the coast of North Africa that put migrants’ lives in danger. Meanwhile, the issues of a European nature tackled the importance of an EU-wide solidarity framework, emergency aid to frontline Member States, as well as the possibility of negotiating agreements to manage irregular migrant pathways with third countries. Particularly, regarding an EU approach on Libya, Madame Loiseau emphasised how Member States have to agree on a common policy on Libya, as a bilateral, fragmented approach is not the most effective.
The last consultation of the series ‘Ghid Tieghek dwar l-Ewropa’ will be with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and will serve as a conclusion of what was discussed at the meetings held between July and November this year. MEUSAC is compiling a report which the Prime Minister will present at the December European Council for consideration and discussion heads of state or government.
The meeting with the Prime Minister will be held on Friday, 9 November at 7pm, at the Auberge de Aragon, Independence Square, Valletta.