MALTA, VELLA "PROVIDING YOUNG PEOPLE WITH BETTER PROSPECTS"
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, George Vella, has highlighted Malta’s long-standing position that the only way to address the challenges of migration is to address the underlying causes within countries of origin.
Speaking at a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting in Luxembourg (Foreign Affairs Council), Minister Vella highlighted the need to focus particular attention on young people. “Providing young people with better prospects is key to combating violent extremism and the causes of migration,” stated the Minister during an exchange on the situation in the Sahel region, which also took stock of the EU comprehensive approach to security and development in the region.
The Minister added that mainstream youth empowerment “should serve to promote education and youth employment in order to provide alternatives to illegal activities.” He called for more focus in EU support in order to enable youth in the region to be agents of positive change.
The Minister also welcomed the commitment expressed by the Sahel G5 countries (Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania, Mali and Chad) to tackle common security and development challenges with the EU during a meeting in Brussels on 17 June. He stated that EU missions in Niger and Mali are contributing to stability and capacity-building in the region, and also encouraged improved engagement between Sahel countries and Libya, notably with regard to border management. During the meeting, Ministers also discussed the Middle East Peace Process (between Palestine and Israel) as a follow up of an international conference which was held in Paris on 3 June. In this regard, Minister Vella commended the French initiative, stating that it was “both timely and necessary to rekindle the prospects of peace talks and keep the two-state solution alive.” Minister Vella also referred to the pending report to be issued by the Quartet (the UN, the United States of America, the EU and Russia) and underlined the importance for the international community to be ready to take steps forward, based on the recommendations of this report.
Other issues which were discussed by the Foreign Affairs Council meeting were the EU integrated Policy for the Arctic and visa liberalisation in the context of EU-Georgia relations. Finally, Ministers also discussed political developments in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).