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Ratas: Italy, Malta not alone in resolving migration crisis

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in Rome on Monday. Nov. 13, 2017.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in Rome on Monday. Nov. 13, 2017. Source: (Jürgen Randma/Government Office)

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) met with Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni on Monday, where the heads of state discussed the ongoing migration crisis and Ratas expressed support for the two Southern European countries on its front line.

"Italy and Malta have done a great job," Ratas said according to a government press release. "Estonia has found it important to support Southern European countries in gaining control over migration pressure. Europe must stick together and support one another; the crisis is not limited to Southern Europe, but affects all of us, and it is important that all countries contribute."

According to Ratas, Europe must act quickly and in a composed manner, taking control of the external border on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea, helping people who are escaping war and persecution, and supporting African countries and ensuring that people do not have to undertake the dangerous journey to Europe.

Estonia has contributed €1.45 million to the EU Trust Fund for Africa to help resolve the migration crisis, and is fulfilling its obligation in accepting refugees for resettlement and relocation.

Also discussed at the meeting was how Estonia's presidency of the Council of the EU is going. The prime ministers agreed that, above all, the EU must begin focusing on questions that will improve people's everyday lives.

"At the same time, European leaders must take a longer look at the future and address strategic key issues such as technological development, energy security, climate change and old and new threats in the European region," Ratas added.

Likewise discussed with Muscat and Gentiloni were bilateral relations with Malta and Italy, respectively; Ratas affirmed that relations between Estonia, Malta and Italy are friendly and close.

"I am pleased that Italy is participating actively in European defense cooperation," Ratas said. "Italians have been present in Šiauliai, Lithuania, within the framework of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission, and Italy is also one of the founding members of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCD COE) located in Tallinn. I hope that defense and security policy cooperation between Estonia and Italy grows even closer."

According to the Estonian prime minister, trade relations between Estonia and Malta have a lot of room for growth. "Tourism will hopefully flourish in the spring, when direct flights between Tallinn and Valletta begin," he noted.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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