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Maasikas: tackling the migration crisis is a litmus test of the EU’s ability to work together


Today, at the meeting of the EU General Affairs Council in Valetta, the Member States focused on the Priorities of the Maltese Presidency, the Summit taking place at the beginning of February and the discussion of the future of Europe on the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome in March.

Estonian Deputy Minister for EU Affairs Matti Maasikas emphasised in his address that Estonia fully supports the six priority areas of the Maltese Presidency as they are currently acute for the EU. According to Maasikas, “migration, developing the single market, security, social inclusion as well as the EU Southern Neighbourhood and maritime affairs are topics that affect our lives every day. Regardless of location or residence, safety and healthy environment, opportunities to study, work, receive services and pursue business activities are important to people. Providing the four fundamental freedoms has never been as necessary as it currently is.”

Member States spoke about the need to keep the EU unified and strengthen the economy. To achieve this we have to concentrate on the single market, especially the digital single market and also on developing the Energy Union. Estonia also supports Malta’s aim to bind the Neighbourhood Policy countries more closely with Europe. It is necessary to address both the Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood to support their wish to cooperate in different policies.

According to Maasikas, “the EU’s capacity to search for different solutions, execute decisions and protect its borders is a litmus test of our cooperation. At the moment, migration is at the core of EU’s solidarity and capability problems. Here we need progress.”

Illegal economic migration can be controlled by enforcement of readmission agreements and returns. According to Matti Maasikas, Estonia supports Malta’s proposal to increase activities and volume of the voluntary return program in Libya by offering the opportunity to return home.  “Greater involvement of the countries of origin and enforcement and implementation of readmission agreements help to stop the networks of traffickers and save lives."

Ministers also discussed preparations for the informal meeting of the Heads of State or Government taking place on 3rd February. The meeting will focus on the future of the EU and external migration.


Additional information:

Tiina Maiberg
Media Counsellor
Communication Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(+372) 6377 253
(+372) 53 008 703


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