Malta needs tailor-made solutions on immigration

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European Union solutions for immigration problems must take into account Malta's size, its limited resources and the fact that it is responsible for a vast search and rescue area disproportionate to its territory, German Ambassador Karl Andreas von Stenglin said last week.

The Ambassador was outlining the plans of the forthcoming EU Presidency, currently held by his country, at a public dialogue meeting organized by the German embassy and Forum Malta fl-Ewropa.

"Support by Frontex and other member states has to be tailor-made," he said.

"In the case of Malta, it has to take account of the smallness of the country ... Malta has the largest per capita influx of immigrants."

Immigration with all its multifaceted issues is a key item on the presidency's agenda, which will be dealing with developing a coherent European solution to immigration.

Foreign Minister Michael Frendo thanked Germany for its support, adding that the diplomatic work carried out last year, especially, had paid off as the issue of immigration was now embedded in the EU agenda.

"Malta wants a stronger Frontex to which more resources are allocated and it will keep fighting for this," he said.

However, at the same time, thanks to the recent meeting in Tripoli between the EU member states and the bloc's African counterparts, the root of the problem was being addressed.

"We now expect the Tripoli declaration to be pursued."

The main issue stressed at the forum, however, by both by Mr. von Stenglin and Dr. Frendo, dealt with the botched EU Constitution.

Two years ago referenda in France and Holland on the treaty establishing the Constitution were rejected casting the ratification of the document into limbo.

The Berlin declaration, which EU member states are preparing to make on the 50th anniversary since the Treaties of Rome was signed, will be a defining moment in this respect, Dr. Frendo said.

In the background of increasing concerns about globalization, climate change and a deteriorating situation in the Middle East, Mr. von Stenglin said, the EU needs to renew the European idea. Dr. Frendo carried forward this theme, pointing out that a united Europe had brought both peace and prosperity.

"If we forget this, we will be forgetting the spirit of what we are doing," he said.

The Berlin declaration needs to have within it an indication of the solutions to the EU Constitution impasse, he added.


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