Malta closes first file in EU Council Presidency

Malta today closed the first file in its Presidency of the EU council.

The file agreed upon by the European Parliament has updated the standards which regulate fishing vessels. Parliamentary Secretary Roderick Galdes has also announced initiatives for Mediterranean fishing and a conference for EU Ministers for Fisheries which will take place in Malta in March.

Mr Galdes closed off a week of meetings which the Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries held with the committees at the European Parliament.

“During the meetings which the Maltese ministers had at the European Parliament, the message was a common one that Malta, although ambitions in its priorities and plans for the next five months, is aware that it does not have much time to change things and address the considerable challenges facing the EU, but hopes that these priorities will make a difference.”

“We are not going to promise miracles because miracles won’t happen, so I have focussed mostly on the maritime sector which we as a country are giving priority to,” said Minister Joe Mizzi.

“Europeans are eager to register substantial progress in certain files, especially those files which deal with the climate”, said Environment Minister Jose Herrera.

“I believe that if there is going to be some form of agreement which will bring stability to Libya, the issue of immigration, while it cannot be stemmed, can also be controlled while I hope to see the situation in Turkey resolve itself as well,” said Foreign Affairs Minister George Vella.

“The issue of obesity is not just a problem in our country but throughout the EU and the proposals we are making to help schools issue tenders for healthy food for children, and the obesity action plan throughout the EU, has led to a lot of discussion and great interest at the European Parliament. We also discussed the issue of medicines, especially new medicines which come on the market at very high prices which are creating a problem of sustainability throughout Europe,” said Minister Chris Fearne.

“We took the approach of linking tourism with an aviation strategy, as well as air connectivity so that we can be connected as much as possible with many other countries, because tourism comes when you have a lot of connections with other countries,” said Minister Edward Zammit Lewis.

“Our job is to see that our priorities are in line with the priorities of the Presidency and this is an opportunity for us to put pressure on the Presidency so that it truly works on the issues which can make a difference in the lives of citizens,” said MEP Miriam Dalli.

“The dialogue is constant because, for example, I am working on immigration and there is a proposal on the table about the pressures which are being placed on countries such as ours. These pressures need to be discussed between Parliament and the Council in meetings which are being led by the Maltese, said MEP Roberta Metsola.

The last meeting of the Ministers in the Euro Parliament committees is scheduled for Tuesday, which will see Deputy PM Louis Grech appear in front of the members of the Constitutional Affairs committee. After these meetings, the work of the Presidency will continue and at the end of the Presidency, the Ministers will give their account not only to citizens but also the EP of the work which was carried out and the process made on the various priorities.