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Malta supports Turkey’s accession into EU

Deputy Prime Minister Tonio Borg expresses full support for Turkey’s accession into the EU if the country fulfils all necessary criteria.

Bianca Caruana
12 April 2012, 12:00am
From left: Turkey’s Minister and Chief Negotiator of EU Affairs Egemen Bagis with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tonio Borg
From left: Turkey’s Minister and Chief Negotiator of EU Affairs Egemen Bagis with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tonio Borg
Following bilateral meetings with Turkey’s Minister and Chief Negotiator of EU Affairs Egemen Bagis, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tonio Borg said Malta was fully supportive of Turkey’s attempts to become a full EU member.

“There is no reason to exclude Turkey from the EU if all the necessary criteria are fulfilled, and this has always been Malta’s position on the matter,” Borg said.

Borg added that discussions included possible ways to increase trade and investment opportunities for both countries while also referring to Visa issues.

“Malta has maintained excellent relations with Turkey. Turkey opened its first Embassy in Malta in October 2009, whereas Malta opened a Consulate General in Istanbul in March 2009. These developments are a solid platform that should lead to further promote trade and investment between the two countries,” Borg said.

Prior to Malta’s entry into the EU, Turkish citizens did not need Visas to enter Malta but because of EU regulations, this changed. “We are now attempting to facilitate the eventual removal of Visas since they are not necessary,” Borg said.

Borg also made reference to the bilateral legal framework between the two countries, which consists of twelve bilateral agreements.

The last two agreements signed were the setting up of a Maltese-Turkish Business Council and the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement.

Bagis said that following a meeting with Borg four years ago in Istanbul, he had made two promises. “The first I have kept by being present here today. The second, which I intend to keep, is to bring Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Malta which I intend to keep.

He also said he had two messages to deliver which included delivering thanks to Malta for the support shown in Turkey’s quest to enter the EU. “My second message is to request that Malta continues to support Turkey. These messages were well received today. I hope this support and our continued development will result in our full membership into the EU.”

Borg referred to a number of important areas in which Malta and Turkey could cooperate to enhance economic relations including the Maritime sector. “Malta now boasts the sixth largest fleet in the world and the largest ship register in Europe. The Malta flag is a reputable flag of choice and for years the country has been on the white list. Turkey has over 165 gross tonnage vessels registered in Malta which represents over 30% of Turkish-owned ships registered abroad,”

Referring to the Maltese-Turkish Business Council in 2007, Borg said that this helped to foster greater initiatives to promote investment. “Trade exchanges between the two countries surged to record highs in 2010 nudging the €70 million mark. Imports rose by 80% although they have not yet surpassed the pre-2008 international recession levels.”

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Malcolm Mifsud
I am quite pleased that Malta is maintaining its official position of supporting Turkey's entry to the EU. Turkey's entry in the EU will bring a measure of responsible authority and guidance to the millions of moslem EU citizens who are currently being swayed by extremist views. Also Turkey as the former imperial power in the Middle east can provide for stability in a region where turmoil affects those of us fronting one side of the mediterranean sea. However I suspect that big countries like France and Germany will continue to put obstacles in the way of full membership of Turkey within the EU. I also suspect that public opinion has swung radically in Turkey against membership as they now under the inspired leadership of Erdogan increasingly see themselves as a regional power which can extend its influence and reach well beyond the confines of EU in which some of the big powers would ensure that Turkey play a secondary role.
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Nanette Carbone
Tonio, have you consulted the people? YOU and GONZI have NO RIGHT to decide for US.
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Johann Zammit
Are we going to have some kind of xarija laws in the EU countries,if Turky step in ,thats what they will be moaning about,like they do in England.
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Joseph Galea
Tajba wkoll !!!!!!!! are we going to remove crusifixes from classes and offices? are we still going to celebrate Christmas and other feasts? Are our ladies going to cover their head? I know that you are saying I am in fantasy, but we know well how things started, imagine 95 Million new members how they are going to impose. In Germany they burnt houses, in France they want wome to cover their face. Can Europe afford a giant in the EU?