While addressing a panel discussion held as part of the 14th edition of the annual Bled Strategic Forum (BSF) in Slovenia, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela stated that “Malta, like other Mediterranean countries, is at the frontline in dealing with migration through the Mediterranean route and the priority remains saving lives as well as full respect for international laws.”
The Bled Strategic Forum, which is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, is an international conference which brings together a diverse set of participants. This year’s BSF was dedicated to discussing the role of resources regarding peace and security, sustainable development and economic progress.
Minister Abela stated that the issue of migration needs to be holistically addressed, both from a European but also global perspective. He added that Malta would also like to see more responsibility-sharing and that EU member states should unite to be part of the solution together. He noted that structures such as the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and others should be strengthened and that they are complemented by the political will to find tangible possibilities.
“See African countries as important trade partners”
Abela insisted that the narration on migration should change; and that it is time for the European Union to see African countries as important trade partners.
He emphasised that by investing in countries of origin the EU will be leading to addressing the root causes of irregular migration as it will be providing new opportunities for the younger generations in their own countries.
In his remarks, the Minister noted how migration has been a long-standing phenomenon and said that this is a global issue, and the international community should discuss how to address and manage migration.