Check against delivery!
Good morning. First of all, let me say that for me in particular it is really a pleasure to be here in Malta and have a very good beginning of the Maltese Presidency, I have no doubt.
I think that today we will have a big responsibility as Europeans, 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 and on a cooperative approach in the world.
And on migration, I think really that we can today show the difference. The European approach is an approach of partnership. I believe that today we will agree on a very relevant package of measures that will help us manage the flows better, save lives in partnership with the UN agencies, UNHCR and IOM, in Libya, in the countries of origin, having a strong external European initiative to decrease and avoid loss of lives, both at sea and in the desert, increase the level of human conditions in the camps that we know are dramatic – and act as Europeans for the sake of human lives and human rights – in partnership, with the full ownership of our partners in the region.
So I believe that today we will also together give a strong support to Italy and the agreement that was signed yesterday in Rome between [Fayez Mustafa] al-Sarraj [Chairman of the Presidency Council and Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord of Libya] who was in Brussels a few hours before with me, and is in Brussels still today exactly to discuss the European support to the Libyans in a difficult management of a difficult situation.
So I believe that today we will have an important and positive meeting.
Q. On US President Trump.
A. We are and we will remain friends with the Americans, with the American people, with the American administration, on the basis of our own strong values, principles, interests. We have clear priorities and I am sure that we will have very pragmatic conversations on where we can work together to achieve our common results or where we might differ.
Differing in positions is something normal among friends. For sure the Europeans differ when it comes to a certain approach, for instance to migration, and I think today we will show that our way is cooperation and partnership. We do not believe in walls and in bans.
And 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. The American way might become different today. This is not a European problem, this might be an American problem. But we are seeking cooperation and friendship as always with our American friends. Thank you.
Q. On Libya.
A. We have always worked with Libya. I was giving the news that I was meeting al-Sarraj for the first time different years ago, visiting him and the Presidential Council already in the very beginning, in the very first days of the work.
We are cooperating with the Government of National Accord since its formation on different elements, not only migration. I would like to stress this point very strongly: our work with Libya is first and foremost aimed at helping the political, difficult situation, trying to unite the country, trying to manage the security situation in the country in a sense of partnership with full respect of their sovereignty and trying to help the government in a difficult situation.
The aim of our cooperation with the Libyan authorities is exactly this: helping them even more to tackle a difficult situation in partnership with UNHCR and IOM, including human rights standards because our aim is to save lives, protect people and manage the flows – in partnership.