Current Affairs
“Mediterranean countries expect representation in the EU’s highest posts” – PM

The Europa agenda and how this will affect countries in the south of the European Union will be discussed in a summit between the seven countries in southern Europe, which will meet in Malta on Friday. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat stated that during this summit between the leaders of seven Mediterranean countries, the need will be emphasised for geographic representation in European institutions.

The Prime Minister indicated that the member countries of the European Union in the Mediterranean region will insist on geographic representation in the highest posts of European institutions.

The Prime Minister stated that “just as Eastern countries rightly ensure they are represented, and likewise Northern countries, the countries in the Southern part of Europe will be making this point.”

Besides the participation of Prime Minister Muscat, the summit will be attended by leaders of Italy, France, Cyprus, Greece, Portugal and Spain.

In replies to the media after a meeting at MEUSAC with the social partners, the Prime Minister stated that the Maltese Government is supporting the candidate of the Socialists and Democrats, Frans Timmermans, for the post of President of the European Commission.

The Prime Minister added that “I am hoping we will manage to convince that Mr Timmermans is the best choice for this role, but this discussion is presently ongoing between different leaders, and we are participating in a very constructive manner.”

The top post in European institutions, after the end of Commissioner Jean Claude Juncker’s mandate appears, according to the Prime Minister, to be still wide open, and will continue to be discussed during the European Council meeting in Brussels later this month.

“We will have a clear idea later this month of what might or might not happen, during the European Council. The present vibe indicates there is a will for converging on a name, but the issue is not for the Council to accept a name, but rather that this name has to be acceptable to the Parliament, and there has to be compromise on this,” the Prime Minister added.

In the course of the MEUSAC meeting, Dr Muscat declared thaat the present European Commission worked very well and was effective, adding that during the meeting of the European Council, the leaders are expected to discuss the agreement on the financial budget for the next seven years.

The Prime Minister stated that priorities have to be considered, including innovation and technology. Dr Muscat added that incentives have to be given for industries to continue operating in Europe, further stating that the discussion should also focus on freedom of movement.