Minister Evarist Bartolo holds a bilateral meeting with the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian

Reference Number: PR210807, Press Release Issue Date: Apr 29, 2021
Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo held a bilateral meeting with the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian, who is currently paying an official visit to Malta.

During the talks, the Ministers addressed various topics including stability in the Mediterranean, the situation in Libya, and the various challenges arising from irregular migration. 

In a statement following the bilateral meeting, Minister Evarist Bartolo thanked the French Government for its support in the relocation of irregular migrants who arrived in Malta. The Minister explained how France took about a third of the irregular migrants who were relocated to European Union countries.

In this context, the Minister called for increased solidarity from all EU Member States, and hoped that the negotiations on the European Pact on Migration and Asylum would result in lasting solutions and not ad hoc remedies which only respond to emergency situations.

The Minister also thanked the Libyan Coast Guard which, despite its limited resources, was instrumental in stopping thousands of migrants from crossing on a dangerous journey to Europe, and called for more EU support and investment in resources to protect Europe’s southern border. He stressed the need for the European Union to sit down with the Libyan Government and see how to best help Libya on its borders on land and sea to curb irregular immigration.

Beyond relocation efforts, Minister Bartolo said that European cooperation should also be stepped up for the return of irregular migrants who do not qualify for asylum, this while strengthening efforts to build resilient economies in countries of origin, where the population will continue to increase and, as such, future generations need to have a future in their own country and not be compelled to flee and endanger their lives in the process.

In this regard, Minister Bartolo also mentioned the ongoing talks on the establishment of an International Centre for Migration Policy Development, which, among other things, will offer training to border control officials.

On Libya, Minister Bartolo reiterated that Malta will continue to work together with its international partners towards stability and peace in Libya, and to address the needs of the long-suffering Libyan citizens. He reiterated the Maltese Government’s support for the transitional process and renewed Malta’s commitment to a united Libya in the hands of Libyans.

A photo during the bilateral meeting. 
 Minister Evarist Bartolo with the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian
Minister Evarist Bartolo addressing the press conference.