Prime Minister Joseph Muscat addressed the MEUSAC Core Group meeting ahead of the European Council taking place on June 28-29 which is expected to address migration, security and defence and the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). European Affairs Minister Dr Helena Dalli and Parliamentary Secretary for Social Dialogue Dr Aaron Farrugia also participated.
Dr Muscat said that when it comes to the absorption of funds allocated to Malta by the EU, Malta emerged as a top performer since it utilised the funds to the full.
On the UK exit from the EU, Dr Muscat said that one has yet to see whether Member States would require to live with less funds or whether Member States will contribute enough funds to make up for the budget shortfall as a result of the UK’s exit. He said that a number of points are yet to be decided but thanked the Ministry for European Affairs and the Ministry for Finance for their preparatory work tied to the MFF. He added that the first proposal of the European Commission is a good basis for discussion where “we can start discussing the EU budget formation and financial package for Malta and the principles it is based on”.
On asylum seeker applications, Dr Muscat said that Malta satisfied the quota of the European Commission with the number of migrants it took in and is hopeful that EU member States would reach an agreement. He said that Malta is the country with the second largest number of asylum requests per capita.
Dr Muscat also pointed out that a decrease of 78% was witnessed in migrant flows from Libya to Europe.