9 Highlights That Sum Up Yesterday's EU Malta Summit
February sunshine sure pulled through!
An informal EU Council Summit was held yesterday in Valletta where the 28 EU heads of state and government met to discuss issues such as immigration and the effects of Donald Trump's administration on the EU. But with the weather cooperating amazingly, they also got to see the best of Malta's unique beauty.
Here's some of the more interested things we took away from the whole event.
1. It served as a kind of bonding sesh
European Council President Donald Tusk claimed that the EU is currently facing “unprecedented external threats,” and urged EU leaders to commit to “an ambitious vision” of “political consolidation”.
So really, the Summit was very much about all the head honchos pulling together to fight these nasty outside threats. And with German Chancellor Angela Merkel sampling some Maltese ftira, and Joseph Muscat heading out to Serkin with some EU buds for pastizzi, we just know people were in the mood for bonding – Malta style.
2. With a fabulous backdrop
Valletta looked fancy AF. It made even the most pasty of polictians look like they were walking an Italian fashion runway... ish.
3. It was a bit awks for Theresa May
No, Brexit wasn't even on the agenda for yesterday's summit. But U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's proximity to U.S. President Donald Trump stood somewhat polarised from President Donald Tusk's sentiments. Also, her contribution to the Summit was intended to communicate President Trump’s assurances about NATO, but seeng as French President Hollande came out as saying he didn’t know what Trump wanted in terms of NATO, that message may not have been successfully delivered.
May kept a low-profile throughout the Summit, declining to give a press conference, and mostly ignoring journalists. She was also meant to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but that meeting got cancelled.
Here she is standing at the edge of the group photo. #harsh
4. The main focus was immigration
As a result of the discussions that took place during the Summit, the European Commission has agreed to release an additional EUR200m to the UN-backed Libyan government in an aim to curb the flow of migrants from Libya. The plan priorities a number of objectives, including improving training and equipment of the Libyan coastguard; increasing voluntary return activities; and developing local communities in Libya, particularly in coastal areas and at Libyan borders.
The EU declaration states that it remains committed to an earlier deal with Turkey, which came into force in March 2016 and preceded a sharp reduction in migrants travelling on the Eastern Mediterranean route.
5. Also Donald Trump...
Even though Donald Trump's administration was cited by Tusk as one of those external threats, Joseph Muscat described the feeling among EU leaders over Trumps leadership as being pragmatic. He said there was “no sense of anti-Americanism” but Europeans react where need. “We cannot stay silent,” he said.
6. Palace art tours delivered some solid caption contest opportunities
7. Ditto Caravaggio...
8. Donald Tusk is going for a double
Donald Tusk announced that he'd like to stay on as president of the European Council. He said he's "ready to continue [his] work. But that will depend on the decision of all heads of states and governments”.
His insider people say he's been approached by members of different political families and from different regions asking him to stay, and he's ready to do so. Nothing like a bit of soft campaigning during your free Grand Harbour boat trip.
9. They got a free Grand Harbour boat trip
So basically, a ride around the most stunning harbour created in all of history ever.
Although, they didn't seem too fussed about it...
BONUS: It was all a pretty good shout
“This is the first time in quite a number of months that on such a controversial subject the European Union and all member states have managed to achieve important progress and unity” Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said in his press conference on the subject of immigration. The general sentiment was one of progress and unity, and that the EU needs to be re-strengthened at its Mediterranean core.