10 January 2017

Introducing the Maltese Presidency Priorities

As Malta takes on the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in January 2017, the EU faces the toughest challenges in its 60-year history. Unprecedented waves of migration, the rise of populism across the continent, economic stagnation in some Member States and the expected repercussions of the UK’s Brexit referendum in June 2016. These are times of great global change.

The theme of the Maltese Presidency is rEUnion. It is not a legislative programme, it is a philosophy and a way of working. It means reconnecting with people, listening to and working for the people, sharing the burdens and benefits of membership of the EU fairly between people and states and restoring a sense of cooperation and neighbourliness in these increasingly fractious times.

Malta developed a number of priorities described in detail in their Programme. These are the themes:

  • Migration
  • The single market
  • Security
  • Social inclusion
  • Europe’s neighbourhood
  • Maritime

Migration and asylum represent one of the highest priorities.  The objectives in this area are to push for reform of the Common European Asylum System in order to share the burden more evenly between Member States, and to ensure that the issue remains at the top of the political agenda.

Malta will also focus on strengthening the EU’s Single Market, the huge free trade area that many regard as the EU’s greatest asset. The priorities here include a final end to mobile phone roaming charges, and tearing down the digital fences that stop some EU citizens from buying goods and services from other EU nations – a practice known as geo-blocking.

Following horrific terror attacks in recent years around the world, security is a primary concern to citizens of every nation. The Maltese Presidency will work to develop concrete proposals that address regional and global challenges while upholding the values that underpin the very existence of the Union. The EU’s first line of work in this area remains effective diplomacy.

Social policy is something that the Maltese Government holds dear. Work here will be guided by close consultation with social partners, civil society and citizens in order to advance gender equality and rights of minorities and vulnerable groups.

Europe’s security and prosperity are interlinked with those of our neighbourhood. Aware of the potential ripple effects of instability beyond Europe’s borders, the Maltese Presidency will focus EU engagement on the stabilisation of our neighbourhood.

The EU will be increasingly dependent on the seas and oceans. The work here will be focused on ensuring not only the sustainability of the oceans, but also on effective governance to promote growth in areas such as maritime tourism and sea freight.

More information: http://bit.ly/2iXvEgV