At a European Council summit in Brussels, Prime Minister Robert Abela reiterated Malta’s position that lasting peace in the Middle East can only be achieved through an immediate ceasefire complemented by the two-state solution. This position was also reflected in a letter sent by Prime Minister Robert Abela together with three other prime ministers of Spain, Ireland and Belgium to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. In the same letter, the signatories also called on the Council to take a firm stance on the Middle East, also for the European Union to remain credible internationally and consistent with positions it has taken on other conflicts.

During the discussion on the situation in the Middle East, Dr Abela stressed that it cannot be that atrocities on innocent peoples continue to be accepted. “I believe that the situation in the Middle East merited a clear signal from the Council. I have made this appeal to the leaders and also to the presidents of the European institutions. How can we continue to accept the indiscriminate killing of innocent people, and others being forced to leave their own home? Disappointed that it was not agreed that there should be conclusions that drive international pressure on this situation. I expected the European institutions to be consistent with positions taken on other conflicts”, said the Prime Minister. Furthermore, the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip needs to be addressed immediately while the Resolution that led Malta to the United Nations Security Council is implemented, the Prime Minister said.

At the same time acknowledging the need for measures to ensure Israel’s security, Prime Minister Robert Abela said that we need to strengthen the Palestinian Authority through financial and political aid to enable it to manage the Gaza Strip and the West Bank effectively. The Prime Minister also expressed his concern about maritime security as well as the possibility of this conflict escalating to a regional one with negative effects on neighbouring countries. The European Council Summit also agreed between the leaders of the Member States to open negotiations in preparation for Ukraine’s and Moldova’s membership of the European Union. Prime Minister Robert Abela described this decision as an important step on the path towards reforms that will bring these countries closer to the European Union. He reiterated that Malta will continue to support the Ukrainian people through humanitarian aid.

On the revision of the EU Multiannual Financial Framework on which no agreement was reached, the Prime Minister explained Malta’s position that a package of initiatives is needed to finance various priorities, not just aid expenditure to Ukraine. Here the Prime Minister stressed the need for the Mediterranean dimension not to experience a reduction in funds in the next four years. “We need to have sufficient resources to invest in investments with which to build strategic relations with countries in northern Africa and to strengthen the fight against human traffickers”, Dr Abela said. The discussion on this revision will continue at another European Council summit next January, as no agreement was reached at this meeting.



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