Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo today held a bilateral meeting with the Federal Minister for European and International Affairs of Austria Alexander Schallenberg.
The talks mainly focused on the situation in Libya and how Malta and Austria, together with the rest of the European Union, can collaborate for peace, progress and security in Libya.
In a statement after the bilateral meeting, Minister Evarist Bartolo stressed that the two countries have common priorities that offer a solid foundation for strong cooperation in European fora and beyond.
In this context, he said that the European Union and its Member States need to offer the necessary support to maintain peace in Libya for the good of the Libyan people, who have long suffered from the consequences of war and who are still suffering from precarious conditions due to lack of purchasing power and the lack of basic services such as electricity, water and waste management.
With regard to irregular migration, Minister Bartolo said that along with Malta, Austria is bearing its burden and that other European Union countries need to follow suit in order to truly share the burden in a fair and equitable manner. However, he stressed that it is futile resorting to solutions which have already failed, and that we need to look beyond relocation and address the root causes.
Minister Bartolo explained how, first of all, the European Union must work to offer young people a future in their own country, working hand in hand with African countries as equal partners in a fair and equitable trade framework which does not exploit the vast resources of the African continent.
Furthermore, the Minister reiterated that more support should be given to the Libyan Government to not only stop illegal boat departures, but to protect its southern border which is fully exposed to trafficking in human beings and organized crime.
All this while increasing efforts to return and repatriate regular migrants who do not qualify for asylum.
Source: Office of the Prime Minister