PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Mediterranean youth at the heart of Ministerial Meeting in Barcelona

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr George W. Vella today brought to the fore Malta’s Presidency priorities on the Mediterranean region during a Union for the Mediterranean Regional Forum Meeting, held in Barcelona. Minister Vella explained that Malta will leave no stone unturned to further enhance close cooperation between the EU and its Southern neighbours.

Minister Vella was joined by other Foreign Ministers from the region in welcoming the centrality of youth during the discussions and underlined the increasing level of youth unemployment across the region. He spoke of the links between development and security and called for an inclusive approach that places youth at the heart of forward-looking policies towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. Fostering value-based education policies within UfM fora is pivotal to address the aspirations and ideas of youth across the Mediterranean, Minister Vella added.

In his interventions, Minister Vella also referred to unfolding developments in Libya, which for years now have been influencing stability in the region. The situation, Minister Vella observed, will not improve unless the Libyan population sees concrete deliverables and a fully functioning Government which addresses their needs. The issue of migration was also discussed, with Minister Vella emphasising a sense of urgency in light of the fact that 2016 saw the highest figures of loss of lives at sea in the Mediterranean.

Malta has been an active member of the Union for the Mediterranean since its inception in 2008, and fully supports its project-based approach. Along the years Malta contributed tangibly to the functioning of this institution through the deployment of a Maltese Deputy Secretary General and a Special Envoy of the UfM Secretary General.

Source: Government of Malta