The European Union’s General Affairs Council had a meeting in Valletta on Tuesday to discuss the priorities of the Maltese Presidency, and in that context, the problem of migration which the Maltese Government treats as a priority issue on account of the island state’s geographical location.

Szabolcs Takács, State Secretary for EU Affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office told the Hungarian news agency MTI by telephone that the emphasis was laid at the meeting on the need to detain migration outside the borders of the European Union. There are also positive experiences regarding this effort: the agreement concluded with Turkey.

The solution is more complex in the case of North-Africa as the EU has to come to agreements with countries such as Egypt and Libya. If, however, the EU succeeds in controlling migration, the overall solution will be easier. To this end, Hungary is ready to make every effort, the State Secretary said.

The other main topic of the meeting was the smooth, problem-free functioning of the EU’s internal market, in particular, from the respect that the temporary reinstatement of border controls disrupts the free movement of goods and services.

At the meeting, the participants also discussed the departure of Britain from the EU, but regarding this issue, the parties have not yet formulated a definitive position, given that Britain has not yet triggered the relevant process. This issue and the future of the EU in general will be on the agenda of the informal meeting of the heads of state and government of EU Member States to be held in Malta at the beginning of February.

Mr Takács stressed at the meeting that significant changes had taken place on the international scene, a new US President had entered into office, and the European Union will have to give forward-looking responses to these changes in order to regain and to preserve its former significance in the world.

The attendees of the meeting paid tribute to the Hungarian victims who died in the Verona coach accident with a minute’s silence.