Mediterranean countries need to face migration together, Mogherini tells Malta summit
5+5 'opportunity for frank discussion on pressing matters'
Updated at 11.30am
Mediterranean countries were all in the migration crisis together and needed to find a solution together, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said in Malta on Friday.
Speaking during the opening of the 5+5 meeting, Ms Mogherini who is the European Commission vice-President, said countries in the region faced many similar challenges, whether they be social, economic, or of a security nature. Many of these challenges required solutions that no one country could provide.
“It is only natural that we would shape these answers together,” she said during an informal working breakfast to mark the opening of the day-long meeting.
Malta is hosting the 15th Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the 5+5 Western Mediterranean Dialogue.
The 5+5 dialogue sees five European-Mediterranean countries; Malta, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal and the North African countries of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania, hold high-level talks across a spectrum of themes.
During the plenary session shortly after the working breakfast, Ms Mogherini said the meeting was unique in that it saw countries that were destinations, points of transit, and points of departure for migration, all talking together.
“We may speak different languages and follow different religions, but our interests on a number of matters converge,” she said.
Experience, she said, had thought these countries that working together was the only way to find a lasting and effective solution.
Foreign Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela said the meeting, which Malta is co-presiding along with Algeria, was an opportunity for a frank discussion on pressing matters across the Mediterranean.
“The Mediterranean remains at the essence of our external relations dossier, with the overall objective of bringing peace, stability, and sustainable growth in the region,” Mr Abela said.
The aim of the 5+5 dialogue, he said, was to secure closer cooperation between southern European and Maghreb countries.
The solutions, he said, would not only be north to south, but also north countries helping each other, and southern countries helping their neighbours too.
The Algerian Foreign Affairs Minister Abdelkader Messahel, who is the co-chair, said the main challenges that needed to be discussed were economic development, migration, climate change, and sustainable development.
Economic prosperity, he said, was pivotal to achieving solutions on all these.
The stark differences between northern and southern countries in the region, was a leading factor in the ongoing migration crisis, he said.
Last week the government had said it hoped the meeting would be an opportunity for a “frank” exchange of views on important regional matters that were of mutual and common interest.
The situation in Libya, the Middle East peace process, and the Sahel, as well as issues such as migration and climate change are expected to be on the table today.
The delegations include the Secretary General of the Arab Maghreb Union, the President of the Anna Lindh Foundation, the Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean, and the President of the Parliamentary Assembly for the Mediterranean as observers, along side foreign affairs ministers from all of the 10 countries.