There were no hard feelings with Malta's position with regard to the Frontex operation and the EU understood Malta’s position, EU Immigration Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said yesterday.

Addressing a news conference she said she still believed that the new rules of engagement were in Malta’s interest and that the country was very welcome to change its position whenever it wanted.

Ms Malmstrom said there was a clear demand for clearer rules of engagement but denied that her visit was related to Malta’s decision not to take part in Frontex.

She said that last year’s pilot project with Malta was very successful and she would now be looking into having this on a permanent basis, encouraging other countries to participate.

Libya, she said, was an important partner in all this and she wrote to the Libyan foreign minister to see how this country could be reengaged and give its long term commitment to alleviate the burden of illegal migration through its collaboration. She admitted this was not easy. With Malta and Italy’s contacts, she said, it might be possible “to open the door”.

On the detention centres, Ms Malmstron said Malta was doing its best to improve the living conditions at these centres and promised to see how the EU could help Malta further.

The problem, she said, was that most of the people at these centres wanted to leave and find a future for themselves in another country.

The EU had to see with other countries how this could be possible, she said.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us