[WATCH] Malta heightens level of preparedness as hard Brexit becomes more likely

Reacting to reports that the UK would be ending to freedom of movement after Brexit, European Affairs Minister Edward Zammit Lewis said Malta was monitoring the situation and would be leaving nothing to chance

EU Affairs minister Edward Zammit Lewis said that Malta had raised its level of preparedness for a no-deal Brexit
EU Affairs minister Edward Zammit Lewis said that Malta had raised its level of preparedness for a no-deal Brexit

Malta has raised its level of preparedness for the UK’s potential departure from the EU without Brexit deal.

Yesterday, reports in the British press claimed that the Home Office was planning to end freedom of movement for EU citizens the day after Brexit.

Asked for his reaction to the reports, Zammit Lewis insisted on the importance of freedom of movement for the EU. He said the government was following Brexit developments closely, “especially given that the current Prime Minister is saying that he is willing to leave the EU without a deal”.

“I have raised out level of preparedness both internally as a minister and on the level of government. This means we are preparing ourselves more than ever before,” Zammit Lewis said.

“We are looking at the eventuality of a no-deal and we will certainly be looking at any developments regarding the issue of free movement.”

He said there had already been “commitments” made to Maltese citizens living in the UK, as well as Brits living Malta, that their status would be recognised.

The minister said that these commitments now needed to be refined, with clear guarantees and rules for people who will be impacted by any developments.

Malta, he said, wanted to respect to sovereignty of the British people, but wanted there to be an orderly exit, which he said was in everyone’s interest.

Asked whether a no-deal Brexit would impact measures announced by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat earlier this year, to make Malta the most “UK-friendly country in the EU”, he noted that the Prime Minister had given guarantees in parliament, which had already been discussed at the “highest level”.

“One expects that those commitments, which where good but generic, are kept, and refined according to the latest developments in the UK,” the minister said, adding that the situation was fluid and prone to changing from one moment to the next.