“Today’s Council is all about shared European values and principles, but we must also not forget the challenges in the Southern Neighbourhood” – Minister Ian Borg

“Today’s Council is all about shared European values and principles, but we must also not forget the challenges in the Southern Neighbourhood” – Minister Ian Borg

Reference Number: PR220625, Press Release Issue Date: May 16, 2022
 

During the Foreign Affairs Council meeting held in Brussels, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade Ian Borg reiterated Malta’s solidarity with Ukraine and its people and expressed full support for enhanced engagement with the Western Balkans, whilst also recalling the European Union’s responsibility towards the Southern neighbourhood.


The Council held a discussion with the ministers of the Western Balkans and an exchange of views with Ukrainian Minister Kuleba on the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Malta reiterated its call for an unconditional ceasefire to be implemented in Ukraine, as well as the resumption of peace negotiations, and urged Russia to provide a safe corridor to evacuate civilians and allow humanitarian aid to flow.


The meeting with the ministers of the Western Balkans discussed the effects of the war in Ukraine on the Western Balkans and how the EU could scale up its efforts in the region.


Minister Ian Borg said that the EU must prioritise the Western Balkans and take heed of their EU membership aspirations. The EU must continue to inspire and incentivise our partners in the Western Balkans to continue their paths of reforms while cautioning against losing credibility amongst the citizens.


The minister also reiterated Malta’s support for Albania and North Macedonia’s membership aspirations. Such a step could also be a transformative development that inspires other countries in the region to step up their reform efforts. He also expressed concern regarding the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and reaffirmed support for the efforts of EU Special Representative Lajčák with regards to the Belgrade Pristina Dialogue.


The minister also restated Malta’s support for the EU’s efforts to tackle food and energy challenges beyond the European borders.


Minister Ian Borg also participated in the Joint Ministerial EU-Canada Committee meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly, during which an EU-Canada Joint Declaration was adopted.


Minister Ian Borg with Foreign Ministers Luigi Di Maio, Mélanie Joly and Eva-Maria Liimets at the Foreign Affairs Council Meetin 
Minister Ian Borg with the Croatian Foreign Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić-Radman 
Minister Ian Borg at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels
Informal meeting with Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó within the confines of the Foreign Affairs Council