Malta faces challenges during EU presidency

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Sup­port machine trans­la­tion:
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Malta faces chal­lenges dur­ing EU pres­id­ency

VALLETTA, Jan. 6 (Xin­hua) — On Jan. 1, Malta took over the six-month rotat­ing European Uni­on (EU) pres­id­ency for the first time, with ana­lysts warn­ing the coun­try would face enorm­ous chal­lenges dur­ing its ten­ure.

Lead­ing up to the pres­id­ency, the Maltese gov­ern­ment iden­ti­fied six pri­or­it­ies for the pres­id­ency: migra­tion, the single mar­ket, secur­ity, social inclu­sion, Europe’s neigh­bour­hood, and mari­time. How­ever, ana­lysts poin­ted out that the issues affect­ing the EU were not restric­ted to these con­cerns.

In June 2016, Brex­it sparked a glob­al out­cry and there is still much uncer­tainty sur­round­ing how Bri­tain will leave the EU. Mean­while, in Decem­ber, the Itali­an con­sti­tu­tion­al ref­er­en­dum led to the resig­na­tion of Prime Min­ister Mat­teo Ren­zi. Fur­ther­more, Don­ald Trump, a staunch crit­ic of European defense spend­ing, cli­mate change, and free trade, has won the pres­id­ency of the United States, which could be prob­lem­at­ic for EU offi­cials when he takes office on Jan. 20.

Mark Har­wood, dir­ect­or of the Insti­tute for European Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­sity of Malta, said Brex­it nego­ti­ations had not yet been resolved domest­ic­ally, adding to the EU’s uncer­tainty. At the same time, due to right-wing polit­ic­al parties gain­ing ground in France, Ger­many, and the Neth­er­lands, elec­tions in 2017 could become a major con­cern.

As a former Brit­ish colony, Malta, and Bri­tain have long enjoyed close rela­tions. The biggest chal­lenge for Malta in the com­ing months will be to ensure good com­mu­nic­a­tion between EU mem­ber states and Bri­tain after the start of the Brex­it nego­ti­ations, Maltese European Par­lia­ment mem­ber Alfred Sant said.

Rod­er­ick Pace, who also works at the Uni­ver­sity of Malta insti­tute, agreed that Brex­it, as well as elec­tions in key EU mem­ber states which may change their polit­ic­al dir­ec­tion, were both uncer­tain­ties facing the EU. ““It will be import­ant for Malta to strive to facil­it­ate agree­ment towards resolv­ing these chal­lenges, which are of a longer dur­a­tion than a single pres­id­ency.””

Issues involving refugees and illeg­al migra­tion will also be an import­ant focus of Malta’s pres­id­ency. Accord­ing to United Nations stat­ist­ics, in 2016, a record num­ber of around 5,000 illeg­al immig­rants died in the Medi­ter­ranean Sea. Refer­ring to Malta in early Decem­ber last year, European Par­lia­ment Pres­id­ent Mar­tin Schulz stated that, because of its loc­a­tion on the north­ern shore of the Medi­ter­ranean Sea, Malta had exper­i­ence in deal­ing with refugees and could help the EU reach solu­tions to the migra­tion crisis.

Malta has pro­posed to strengthen and sim­pli­fy the Com­mon European Asylum Sys­tem and to dis­trib­ute the immig­ra­tion load between its mem­ber states more fairly, in an attempt to revise the Dub­lin Reg­u­la­tions, which states that the coun­try asylum seekers first set foot in is respons­ible for them. The Coun­cil of the EU has set a dead­line for June to revise the Dub­lin Reg­u­la­tions, but Malta’s home affairs min­ister Car­melo Abela has said this would be dif­fi­cult. Malta wants to push for a hol­ist­ic approach to migra­tion, and is there­fore work­ing to com­plete work in rela­tion to the European Extern­al Invest­ment Plan to pro­mote sus­tain­able invest­ment in Africa to tackle the root causes of migra­tion.

Maltese Prime Min­ister Joseph Mus­cat told the media that the cent­ral Medi­ter­ranean would be the focus of secur­ity and refugee crisis dis­cus­sions at a Malta sum­mit to be held in Feb­ru­ary. At the same time, Malta hopes the EU can play a role in the sta­bil­iz­a­tion of Libya and ensure a demo­crat­ic trans­ition in Tunisia. The Maltese pres­id­ency will also sup­port EU and inter­na­tion­al efforts to resume the Middle East Peace Pro­cess between Israel and Palestine.

In addi­tion, the specter of ter­ror­ism has lingered on the con­tin­ent over the past year and Malta is hop­ing for sig­ni­fic­ant pro­gress on ini­ti­at­ives to com­bat ter­ror­ism and strengthen the out­er bor­ders of Europe. These meas­ures include inter­op­er­ab­il­ity solu­tions for data­bases used by nation­al law and bor­der man­age­ment author­it­ies; con­tinu­ing the fight to end ter­ror­ist fin­an­cing; estab­lish­ing a sys­tem for regis­ter­ing third coun­tries’ cit­izens at EU bor­ders, as well as the cre­ation of an EU travel inform­a­tion and author­isa­tion sys­tem to determ­ine the eli­gib­il­ity of visa-exempt third coun­try nation­als trav­el­ing to the Schen­gen Area.

At the same time, Malta will also work to pro­mote mari­time secur­ity, with top pri­or­ity given to review­ing mari­time secur­ity strategies and migra­tion flows. It is under­stood that Malta will make a pro­pos­al on an inter­na­tion­al frame­work for ocean gov­ernance.

Des­pite the cur­rently good eco­nom­ic situ­ation in Malta, the eco­nom­ic slump is affect­ing the EU as a whole and impinges on pub­lic con­fid­ence. In respon­se, growth and employ­ment remains an over­arch­ing pri­or­ity for the EU as a whole and the pro­pos­al is to develop a digit­al single mar­ket and can­cel mobile phone roam­ing fees through­out Europe, and to strive to achieve free cov­er­age agree­ments for wifi net­works in pub­lic places. Oth­er pro­jects involve the improve­ment of the intern­al energy mar­ket and strength­en­ing the secur­ity of energy sup­ply for all EU cit­izens. Fur­ther­more, Malta also iden­ti­fied the import­ance of the elim­in­a­tion of trade bar­ri­ers and the pro­tec­tion of con­sumers.

As a small EU coun­try, Malta took over the rotat­ing pres­id­ency while up again­st ““inher­ent defi­cien­cies”” in resources and exper­i­ence, Pace said. ““But its small­ness gives it a cer­tain strength, in the sense of trust­wor­thi­ness rooted in the fact that it has no wider agenda based on self-interest which could ser­i­ously affect the interests — whatever they may be — of the oth­er mem­ber states,”” he added.

In this regard, Mus­cat said in his 2017 New Year speech that Malta must ““rise to the occa­sion”” to ensure that it does its utmost to help the EU over­come the severe chal­lenges it is con­fron­ted with.

Des­pite these chal­lenges and its size, Malta seems to be eager to leave its mark dur­ing this pres­id­ency, Pace said, believ­ing Malta would ful­fil the duties of the pres­id­ency, if for no oth­er reas­on than because of its determ­in­a­tion to suc­ceed.

Har­wood said, ““Malta is facing a unique set of cir­cum­stances and any res­ults over the next six months would be a good out­come at such a com­plic­ated time.””

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Appoġġ ta traduzz­joni awto­matika:
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Malta qed tiffaċċ­ja sfidi waqt pres­id­en­za tal-UE

VALLETTA, Jan­nar 6 (Xin­hua) — Dwar Jan­nar 1, Malta ħadet f’idejha l-sitt xhur li ddur Unjoni Ewropea (UE) pres­id­en­za għal-ewwel dar­ba, ma anal­isti twis­si­ja pajjiż jiffaċċ­ja sfidi enormi mat­ul il-man­dat tagħha.

Was­sal għall-pres­id­en­za, il-gvern Malti iden­ti­fikat sitt pri­jor­itaji­et għall-Pres­id­en­za:-migrazz­joni, il-suq uniku, sig­urtà, inkluż­joni soċ­jali, viċin­at tal-Ewro­pa, u marit­timi. Madankollu, anal­isti rril­ev­at li l-kwist­jon­iji­et li jolqtu l-UE ma kinux ris­tret­ti għal dan it-tħassib.

F’Ġunju 2016, Brex­it qan­qal qaj­met glob­ali u għad hemm ħafna inċer­tezza kif Brit­tan­ja se jħal­lu l-UE. Sadanit­tant, f’Diċembru, il-ref­er­en­dum kostituzz­jon­ali Tal­jan wasslet għar-riżen­ja tal-Prim Min­is­tru Mat­teo RENZI. Bar­ra minn hekk, Don­ald Trump, kritiku qal­bu tan-nefqa Ewropea tad-difiża, it-tib­dil fil-klima, u l-kum­merċ ħieles, rebaħ il-pres­id­en­za ta l-Istati Uniti, li jista’ jkun prob­lem­atiku għall-uffiċjali tal-UE meta jieħu kariga fuq Jan­nar 20.

Mark Har­wood, direttur tal-Isti­tutall-Istudji Ewropej fl-Uni­versità ta Malta, qal negoz­jati Brex­it kien­et għadha ma ġietx solvuta domest­ika­ment, li jżid mal-inċer­tezza tal-UE. Fl-istess ħin, minħab­ba l-par­titi politiċi tal-lemin jiks­bu l-art fi Fran­za, il-Ġer­man­ja, u l-Olan­da, l-elezz­jon­iji­et fl-2017 tista ssir tħassib kbir.

Bħala kolon­ja Ingliża ta qabel, Malta, u l-Ingil­ter­ra ilhom igaw­du relazz­jon­iji­et mill-qrib. L-akbar sfida għal Malta fix-xhur li ġejjin ser tkun li jiġi żgur­at komunikazz­joni tajba bejn l-Istati Mem­bri tal-UE u Brit­tan­ja wara l-bidu tan-negoz­jati Brex­it, Malti mem­bru tal-Par­la­ment Ewropew Alfred Sant qal.

Rod­er­ick Pace, li jaħ­dem ukoll fl-Uni­versita ta’ Malta isti­tut, qablu li Brex­it, kif ukoll elezz­jon­iji­et fl-Istati Mem­bri ewlen­in tal-UE li jista jbid­del id-direzz­joni politika tagħhom, kienu t-tne­jn inċer­tezzi li qed tiffaċċ­ja l-UE. ““Se jkun import­anti għal Malta li jistinkaw biex jiffaċil­it­aw fte­him biex isolvu dawn l-isfidi, li huma ta tul itwal minn pres­id­en­za wieħed.””