College visit to the Maltese Presidency
President Juncker today led the College of Commissioners' visit to Valetta, Malta for the traditional visit of the incoming Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Following President Juncker's meeting with President Coleiro Preca, the College met with the Maltese Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Muscat, to discuss the Presidency's priorities and the challenges facing the EU in the upcoming six months.
Speaking at a press conference following the meeting, President Juncker praised the incoming Presidency for preparatory work and underlined that the Commission and the Presidency were "very much on the same line and swimming in the same direction".
President Juncker highlighted migration as an important challenge for the next six months and stressed the need for the "principle of solidarity to be respected". He called for Member States to deliver on their commitments, notably on stepping up European presence on the Mediterranean. He identified progress on the Common European Asylum System and on turning the European Asylum Support Office into a fully-fledged Agency as key deliverables under the Maltese Presidency.
President Juncker praised the inclusion of the social dimension of the Internal Market and of the Economic and Monetary Union in Malta's priorities ahead of upcoming Commission proposals in March. He identified the Valletta Summit in February as a key milestone in preparing the 60th Anniversary celebrations in Rome and spoke of his hope that the Summit would "bring together the best energies of the European Nations".
Following the visit, President Juncker will travel to Geneva for the talks on Cyprus reunification. He spoke of his belief that "the time has come to reunite the island" and his hope that the talks would be concluded successfully: "When it is about peace you have to take risks. When it is about peace, those who are taking no risks are taking the greater risk."