Migration and security concerns must not hinder Europe from nurturing better relations with its Southern neighbours

Reference Number:  , Press Release Issue Date: Oct 26, 2018
 
Europe must not allow the challenges posed by refugee and migrant flows and security concerns to distract its attention from developing better relations with its Southern neighbours, which need to be nurtured on the basis of a partnership agenda with joint priorities, responding to the broader interests of both sides, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela told the fifth edition of the annual Warsaw Security Forum (WSF) in Warsaw.

The WSF is a leading international conference devoted to issues of international security, military affairs, cyber threats, transatlantic cooperation, as well as challenges and opportunities lying ahead not only for Poland, but the entire region of Central and Eastern Europe. The conference, which this year met under the theme ‘For the World’s Secure Future’, is organised by the Casimir Pulaski Foundation, an independent think-tank specialising in foreign policy and international security. Malta was invited to participate in the conference for the first time to share the Euro-Mediterranean perspective while better understanding the security concerns of Central and Eastern Europe.

Delivering the keynote speech at a high-level session on ‘Migration, Confrontation, Cooperation – Realities and Relations with the Southern Neighbourhood’, Minister Abela pointed out that, so far this year, arrivals in Europe of unauthorised migrants along the Central Mediterranean route are around 80 per cent lower than they were in 2017. However, the proportion of those losing their lives while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, which has sadly become the graveyard of too many, has risen sharply. Nonetheless, there are some welcome developments, such as the Global Compact on Migration, the first-ever UN global agreement on a common approach to international migration.

“Migration needs to be an option, not a necessity. We have been saying this for a very long time; the time has come to do more than we say,” said Minister Abela. “Addressing our labour market gaps though the formulation of legal channels of migration, which could be regionally available, would promote regulated migration flows while ensuring that employment is regularised and can adequately address labour shortages, to the benefit of employer and employee alike.”

Joining the panel discussion on the same subject, the Foreign Affairs Minister said that Europe’s relations with African countries should not be based exclusively on their being countries of origin or transit for migrants on their way to Europe. It is beneficial for both continents to work together as honest, equal partners on different matters, including trade and investment.

On the margins of the WSF, Minister Abela had the opportunity to meet with several of the high-level participants, including Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jacec Czaputowicz, to whom he had the opportunity to introduce Malta’s newly-appointed Ambassador to Poland John Paul Grech. He was also interviewed by Polskie Radio, Poland’s national radio broadcasting organisation, chiefly on the challenges and opportunities presented by irregular migration.


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(from left to right) Carmelo Abela, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion; Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former NATO Secretary-General; Linas Linkevicius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania; and Jacek Czaputowicz, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland


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Malta’s Foreign Affairs Minister welcomed by Jacek Czaputowicz, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, as David Zalkaliani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, looks on


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Minister Carmelo Abela delivering the keynote speech at the session on ‘Migration, Confrontation, Cooperation – Realities and Relations with the Southern Neghbourhood’ at the WSF 2018


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Minister Carmelo Abela participating in the panel discussion on ‘Migration, Confrontation, Cooperation – Realities and Relations with the Southern Neghbourhood’