EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy said this afternoon that the EU “can and should” do more in assisting its member countries deal with illegal immigration.

He was speaking at a press conference in Valletta after talks with the Prime Minister. The talks were dominated by the influx of migrants and the upheaval in Libya.

Mr Van Rompuy, on his second visit to Malta since he became EU president last year, said he wanted to assure Malta that the EU would show  solidarity with Malta.

He said the pilot project for the resettlement of migrants, which was recently extended, was delivering results and could was a good basis on which to build.

He also listed assistance being given by the EU, notably financial assistance, but also the availability of Frontex assets.

He said he would also offer his assistance for Malta to prepare for the next EU heads of government meeting in June.

Dr Gonzi said that with regard to the situation in Libya, Malta was continuing to insist that  any solution had to see Col Gaddafi and his family move out of the political scenario.

Malta was insisting that Libya must abide by all UN resolutions and it should have a credible ceasefire including the  withdrawal of troops to their barracks.

He said that the pounding of Misrata by the Gaddafi forces needed to stop, and humanitarian aid must be let through.    

On immigration Dr Gonzi said he had explained Malta’s particular situation and limitations owing  to its size.

Europe, he said, needed to understand this and  provide ,human solutions’ . 

No questions were taken during the press conference.

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