European Union
Agreement to cooperate on immigration after meeting with French Internal Affairs Minister

The Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Evarist Bartolo and the Minister for Internal Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement, Byron Camilleri, met the French Minister for Internal Affairs, Gérald Darmanin. During a bilateral meeting the three Ministers agreed to cooperate better on the common immigration problem so as to address its challenges, to fight against terrorism and also discussed radicalism among other subjects.

Top of the agenda was Mediterranean security and the challenges the region faces, particularly that of immigration. The Ministers agreed that the fight against criminal organisations has to be strengthened, particularly those involved in human trafficking and consequently putting lives in danger with perilous and illegal voyages towards Europe. The Maltese Ministers maintained that this can only come about if the EU continues to support directly those countries involved in transition. In this regard the two sides discussed measures to strengthen cooperation between EU countries and African countries in the Central Mediterranean region transition areas and particularly in the context of the negotiations of the New Pact of the EU regarding Asylum and Immigration.

Other aspects of collaboration between the two countries were also discussed, including the strengthening of the asylum process and the repatriation of immigrants that do not qualify for asylum. Ministers Bartolo and Camilleri acknowledged the commitment by France that Malta should not be left alone to carry the immigration burden, particularly where the relocation of immigrants is concerned.

The freedom of expression in a democratic society was also discussed. Malta and France were always in favour of a tolerant attitude as well as for peace and the two countries were always disposed to welcome persons of different beliefs, cultures and traditions. Within this context the Ministers emphasised reciprocal respect for all those that hold different opinions. They also agreed that both Malta and France expect that new arrivals in the country respect the laws, culture and Constitution of the country while both agreed to cooperate against fanaticism and terrorism.