EU leaders today have backed a package of measures proposed by High Representative Federica Mogherini and the European Commission, to better manage migration flows and save lives on the Central Mediterranean route. “The European approach is based on partnership. We don't believe in walls or bans," Mogherini explained, announcing closer cooperation with the Libyan authorities, Libya's neighbours and UN humanitarian agencies in the country.
At their informal meeting in Malta, EU leaders showed support to the bilateral Memorandum of Understanding signed yesterday between Italy and Libya. The EU heads of state and government agreed a nine-point declaration to step up the training of the Libyan coast guard, work with Libya and its neighbours to better manage the country's southern border, increase support to UN agencies to improve the living conditions of migrants inside Libya, and facilitate voluntary returns of irregular migrants to their home countries.
“I think that today we have a big responsibility as Europeans," Mogherini stress ahead of the meeting: "First of all, to show unity and strength in a moment when the world and the Europeans need a strong European Union, sticking to our values, being true to ourselves and becoming a strong point of reference for our partners around the world – on multilateralism, on peace and security, on free and fair trade, on peace in our region, on a cooperative approach in the world. And on migration, we can really show the difference."
Mogherini went on to say: “We are committing even more today to working with all our partners in the region, especially our Arab friends on the Southern shore of the Mediterranean. We believe that things have to be managed together. This is the European way.”