Current Affairs
Brexit Minister visits Malta a week before European Council summit

Malta and the United Kingdom held discussions at diplomatic level at Kastilja regarding Brexit during a Malta visit by the main UK Minister responsible for Brexit, Stephen Barclay, who met Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. The meeting took place a week ahead of the summit to be held by the Council of Europe which is expected to decide on the UK’s requests for a special arrangement to enable Brexit with an agreement. However, the current prospects of this happening do not seem to be so optimistic. In a comment to Television Malta, Minister Barclay spoke of the special relationship between Malta and the UK.

With the British Government and EU Commission’s discussions not seeming likely to reach any amicable conclusion, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson seems to be losing hope that an agreement will be reached on his proposals. His hopes continued to diminish after his telephone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The German Chancellor said an agreement is not possible if Northern Ireland does not remain in the EU’s Customs Union.

This transpired during Minister Barclay’s visit to Malta.

This is a crucial week for Brexit during which Stephen Barclay decided to come to Malta to meet Prime Minister Muscat to appeal to him that in the coming week during the EU summit, Malta votes in favour of an agreement for Brexit. This is the target for the UK in quitting the EU.

The Malta Government has always maintained it will follow the EU’s collective directive on the matter.

In a comment to TVM, the British Minister maintained their aspirations are for an agreement, even those this appears to be difficult to achieve.

“Both sides recognise that it is important that we leave with a deal, because a no deal outcome would be disruptive, and so let us get a deal, now is the time to do that, and to getting to the detailed negotiations in Brussels.”

Asked about the sceptical reaction by the EU Commission and Chancellor Merkel to Johnson’s proposals, Minister Barclay called for flexibility by both sides.

“He has shown flexibility and we now need to see the same flexibility from the Commission’s negotiating team. So let us build on that strong bilateral relationship, let us get a deal and make sure that we deliver on the democratic result in the UK and leave on the 31st of October.”

Barclay appeared to be satisfied with the Malta Government’s arrangements for British citizens.

“We are hugely grateful to the stance the Prime Minister and the Government has taken towards our citizens here in Malta, where he said that he wants to be the most constructive Member State in his approach and we are very grateful for that,” commented Minister Barclay.

He also appeared confident on the new proposals made by Boris Johnson regarding the frontier with Northern Ireland, proposals that should gain the approval of the House of Commons.

“What was very clear last week in the House of Commons, was that Members of Parliament across parties who previously had concerns about the backstop, around the undemocratic nature of what was proposed, which involves laws that apply in Northern Ireland over which people would not have a say. Those MP’s were now signalling that they would support the Prime Minister’s deal.”

Following the meeting with Prime Minister Muscat, Minister Barclay will continue visiting European capitals to try and gain sympathy and support for the British Government’s proposals before next week’s summit.

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