Borg stressed that "Migration will be given the absolute priority. Malta will push for a swift implementation of measures already agreed on and will support the establishment of a fully-fledged EU asylum agency as a means to share the burden more fairly amongst Member States." Moreover, he insisted on the fcat that a reform of the Dublin system will be key and that the Maltese presidency will also focus on the so-called migration compacts - agreements with non EU countries which aim to better manage migration to Europe.
After visiting the PES Group meeting ahead of the CoR plenary, Borg also underlined the vital role of cities and regions in driving EU policies forward and creating a direct link to citizens. "Local and regional authorities are vital to the democratic life of the EU. Our main goal is therefore to bring the EU closer to people and to encourage dialogue on the role of the EU."
Intervening on behalf of the PES Group, President Catiuscia Marini stressed that "Malta is taking over the EU Presidency in a challenging time. Cities and regions are on the front line when it comes to tackling major challenges such as the migration crisis on the ground. We urgently need Europe to speak with one voice in order to be able to deliver", she urged, referring also to the two PES-led opinions adopted by the CoR plenary session on the same day: one on the Reform of the Common European Asylum System - Package II and a Union Resettlement Framework, by the mayor of the Italian port city Catania, Enzo Bianco, and one on the Partnership Framework with third countries on Migration by the Mayor of the Slovenian city Piran, Peter Bossman.
The President concluded her intervention making a case for an ambitious cohesion policy, "which must remain the EU's main investment tool aimed at enhancing solidarity by tackling disparities between regions."