PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR THE EU PRESIDENCY 2017 AND EU FUNDS: Malta will encourage more debates on issues that are challenging the very existence of the European Union – Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg

Malta’s priorities for the forthcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union were presented today by Parliamentary Secretary for the EU Presidency 2017 and EU funds, Dr. Ian Borg, at a breakfast briefing hosted by the European Policy Centre in Brussels. Representatives of Brussels-based institutions and the media participated in a Q&A session at this breakfast meeting on Malta’s agenda for the Presidency.

Dr Ian Borg said that “Malta, during its Presidency, is aiming at encouraging more vigorous debates amongst European leaders on issues that are challenging the very existence of the European Union.”

The low-level of support for the EU amongst Member States, according to the Euro-barometer survey, clearly indicates that the benefits of the EU are not so evident in many Member States. Malta’s ultimate aim is to bring the European Union closer to the people.

Amongst its priorities, Malta aims to foster a progressive approach on social inclusion and address the issues that are of particular concern to citizens such as gender equality in the labour market.

Migration and security are amongst the major challenging issues for Member States. Dr Borg stated that “Europe offers the dispossessed hope for the future when, the places they are leaving often do not”, yet emphasised that responsibility is to be shared fairly amongst all Member States. Additionally, Europe should strengthen its borders to address the issue of security. The stabilisation of the European neighbourhood, in particular the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, is imperative for Europe to enjoy prosperity.

The single market is the lifeblood of the EU, providing numerous opportunities to people in terms of business and wealth. Dr Borg said that there needs to be a sharper focus on EU legislation that better addresses the challenges faced by SMEs and consumers.

The maritime sector features on the Malta’s Presidency agenda. As Europe will become increasingly dependent on the seas and oceans, it is imperative to ensure the sustainability and continuing development of this sector.

Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg expressed his sincere gratitude towards The Trio; Slovakia, The Netherlands and Malta for their hard work during their Presidencies. Dr Borg was accompanied by Malta’s Permanent Representative to the EU, Ambassador Marlene Bonnici and by Mr Neil Kerr Malta’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU.

Source: Government of Malta.