Responsibility and solidarity for migrants must be shared by all European member states, French Minister for European Affairs Laurence Boone said during a visit to Malta on Friday.
The press were invited for the opening remarks in bilateral meetings that took place between Boone and Foreign Affairs Minister Ian Borg at Spinola Palace in St Julian’s.
Boone said she was impressed with her visit to ST Microelectronics, which showcased how EU funds were supporting industrialisation in Europe through important projects that are helping to boost Europe’s semiconductor manufacturing capacity.
Boone also said that she visited a refugee and asylum seeker reception centre and met with representatives from NGOs and organisations that work with migrants, saying that the EU pact on asylum and migration would also be discussed.
“Migration is not just a Malta problem or a France problem it’s a European issue that we must tackle together, with a common responsibility towards asylum seekers,” she said.
Asked what impression she had left from her visit to the migrant housing centre, Boone said that as part of discussions on the migration pact, part of the objective is to address the allocation of responsibility as well as solidarity.
“Some countries are confronted with a higher inflow of migrants and asylum seekers because of their geographic location, but at the same time we must keep solidarity in mind because there are human issues at stake and these are human beings that we need to help,” she said.
“I think on this issue every single country must show responsibility and solidarity.”
Asked if she had any thoughts about the Maltese state being accused of orchestrating pushback on migrant boats to Libya, Boone declined to comment and said it was the responsibility of European agencies to look into the matter.
Asked whether she had an opinion on whether Malta should have a closer relationship with NATO, said that while it was up to Malta to decide on such matter, Malta is welcome to collaborate with the alliance at any time, she said.
Borg added that earlier this week parliament approved the renewal of Malta’s partnership for peace with NATO, which will see the country taking part in targeted collaborations with allies of the institution.