Malta among EU Member States joining African countries in search of a new model for migration management

Reference Number:  , Press Release Issue Date: Jul 06, 2017

Eight European Union Member States, including Malta, and eight African countries have come together to adopt a joint declaration that sets out a number of actions to be taken in partnership with a view to establishing cooperation based on a new, integrated approach towards migration flow management. The joint declaration aims at sustaining and supporting initiatives to address the multi-dimensional nature of migrant smuggling, to mitigate the suffering of migrants stranded in transit countries, and to support local host communities and the efforts of the local authorities, together with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations’ Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The joint declaration (attached) was approved on Thursday 6th July 2017, in Rome at the end of a conference that gathered the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation and other representatives of Algeria, Austria, Chad, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Malta, The Netherlands, Niger, Spain, Sudan, and Tunisia.  Also participating were Louise Arbour, UN Special Representative for International Migration, Volker Turk, Deputy UNHCR High Commissioner, and William Lacy Swing, Director General of the IOM. Malta was represented by Carmelo Abela, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion. The conference, under the theme ‘A shared responsibility for a common goal: solidarity and security’, was called and chaired by Italian Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Angelino Alfano.

An exchange of views took place on the strengthening of EU Member States’ cooperation with African countries of transit on the Central Mediterranean Route on fighting human trafficking, smuggling and exploitation; better management and prevention of irregular migration; and enhancing border controls, building on the EU’s Partnership Framework with Third Countries and the Regional Development and Protection Programmes as part of the European Agenda for Migration and the Malta Declaration of 3rd February 2017.

Minister Carmelo Abela thanked his Italian counterpart for taking the initiative to bring countries from both sides of the Mediterranean around one table in an effort to intensify their collaboration on migration on the basis of the principles of solidarity, security, and human rights protection. Referring to Malta’s role in addressing the challenges posed by irregular migration, he said that, in 2016, Malta was the EU Member State with the fourth highest number of asylum applicants per million inhabitants. Furthermore, he commended the Armed Forces of Malta for doing an excellent job at saving thousands of lives at sea.

Minister Abela stressed that the identification of challenges in this field, and their evaluation, are, of course, necessary, but so is concrete action that yields tangible results. “We have had many Summits and meetings, including the 2015 Valletta Summit of Migration, but we ultimately need to implement what we agree upon. This is our test; this is what we will be judged upon by our own people,” Minister Abela said. “We need to focus on tackling the root causes of migration effectively by ensuring the creation and preservation of the necessary conditions for security, stability and peace, which are prerequisites for investment, development, employment, and prosperity.


Carmelo Abela, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, greeted by Angelino Alfano, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, as he arrives at the Palazzo della Farnesina for the Ministerial Conference on Migration

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Carmelo Abela, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, participating in the Ministerial Conference on Migration in Rome​

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The family photo of the Ministerial Conference on Migration in Rome