“Migrants should not be instrumentalised by countries against one another” – Minister Evarist Bartolo

“Migrants should not be instrumentalised by countries against one another” – Minister Evarist Bartolo

Reference Number: PR212052, Press Release Issue Date: Nov 15, 2021
The situation in the Western Balkans, the Sahel, the Belarusian and Ukrainian borders, were the main focus of the Foreign Affairs Council meeting, which was convened today in Brussels. EU Foreign Ministers exchanged views on the Western Balkans as part of the follow-up to the Brdo Summit held at European leaders’ level in October.  

Foreign and European Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo reiterated that the Western Balkans belong inside the European Union.  He recalled his recent visit to the region and stressed that Europe needs the Western Balkan countries as others are capitalising on the existing vacuum.  He added that it is important that the European Union enhances the European perspective in the region and that greater engagement with these countries is also important, for the EU to better protect its Southern and Mediterranean borders. 

On the current situation in the Sahel region, primarily the crisis in Sudan and Mali, Minister Bartolo emphasised the importance of securing peace and stability in the region, the absence of which could also threaten the security of Libya, the whole of North Africa and Europe. Regarding the fighting in Ethiopia between the government forces and the rebels, Minister Bartolo urged the EU to work with the Union of African States towards dialogue and to assist all sides involved in the fighting to engage constructively. 

Regarding the Eastern Mediterranean, particularly the situation in Varosha, Minister Bartolo remarked that all actors should refrain from taking any unilateral actions, as these could threaten future efforts for the reunification of Cyprus. 

Minister Bartolo also addressed the current crisis on the Belarus-Poland border. Minister Bartolo reiterated Malta’s position clearly that migrants should not be instrumentalised by countries against one another, in their disputes with the EU or any individual EU Member State or States. However, greater effort is needed to defuse the situation and deescalate the current tensions. 

In preparation for the Eastern Partnership Ministerial meeting scheduled for December this year, EU Foreign Ministers exchanged views on how the European Union should advance the partnership with the Eastern neighbourhood and the importance for the Eastern Partnership to continue to deliver tangible results to the people of this region. 

In the margins of the Foreign Affairs Council Meeting, Minister Bartolo participated in a breakfast meeting with the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs which was hosted by the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs for EU Foreign Ministers. 

Minister Evarist Bartolo with German Foreign Minister, Italian Foreign Minister, Dutch Foreign Minister and Croatian Foreign Min