Malta's Foreign Minister says Pope Francis is important in addressing issues on migration

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As part of his official trip to Rome, Carmelo Abela came to the “Museum of the Popes.” He is Malta's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion. 

This Museum holds many famous relics and articles of past popes. Ranging from John XXIII's personal photos to Pius XI's watch these are just some of the items on display there.

One pope in particular who is important for Maltese history is Pius VII. It was him who made Maltese priest Msgr. Fabrizio Sceberras Testaferrata a Cardinal; who participated in three conclaves and influenced the beginnings of a future pope.

Malta's Minister For Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion

“This Maltese Cardinal was also instrumental in the start of the priesthood of another pope. His name at that time was Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti. He was the future Pope Pius IX. We appreciate this exhibition here because of the Maltese connection here through this Maltese Cardinal.”

Carmelo Abela expects to meet the now Pope Francis during the official visit of the President of Malta. He says for Malta the present pope is an important leader, especially in regards to issues concerning migration. 

Malta's Minister For Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion

“This is one of the characteristics of Pope Francis, that he personally has a keen interest in the issue of migration in general. This is of course, as a country in the center of the Mediterranean, an important issue for us.”

Malta has recently been confronted with the difficulties in dealing with disembarkation of migrants in its ports. According to Carmelo Abela, although the European Union agree on external factors on migration, such working with Third world countries and controlling borders. The problem of migration comes done to internal issues, such as the lack of EU member states participating in the relocation process.

Malta's Minister For Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion

“We need to have this holistic approach as EU member states with every EU member state participating in some way or another in this process. However, until now we have been discussing for quite some time, but we haven't arrived yet to have a holistic approach and one policy when it comes to the migration issue.”

He says migrants living in Malta are entitled to free health care, work and education. They also provide programs to help the integration process of migrants. 

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