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Malta and Greece share concerns over migration

Malta and Greece were in tandem yesterday on the issue of illegal migration, agreeing that it needed to be addressed by Europe.

“This is an enormous challenge for Malta as it is for Greece. We have taken the issue to Europe because we believe it is a European problem that requires a European solution,” Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said.

Addressing the media following a bilateral meeting with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Dr Gonzi said the European dimension in addressing the problem was vital not only for the region but for the whole of Europe.

Mr Samaras echoed his views, saying Greece was prepared to work with Malta to push for a common European policy on illegal migration.

“Illegal migration is a terrible danger and we can no longer solve it on our own. It must be seen as a common problem for Europe and we have to work together to get this message across,” he said.

During their talks, the two leaders discussed other common concerns, such as the shipping industry. “We are in the same boat in this sector,” Dr Gonzi said.

Mr Samaras thanked Malta for helping his country “in this difficult time”, saying his country would forever be grateful to Malta.

“Success in Greece means success in Europe. We are undertaking big reforms. We are changing just about everything. In the younger generation, we have an unemployment rate of 58 per cent. With your help, we will put the right infrastructure in place to achieve a turnaround. We want you to know that Greece is a good and reliable friend for Malta,” he said.

Dr Gonzi said the forthcoming European summit to discuss the next EU budget was very important because of discussions on creating jobs and the need for reform.

“This is a time for courage. We have to face the challenges but let’s look to the future with optimism,” he said.

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