MALTA'S EU PRIORITIES
Malta may be the smallest nation in the EU but it has an ambitious and exciting to-do list that it hopes will bring the EU closer to its people.
1. Managing migration
Getting a grip on migration and asylum is one of the top priorities, and Malta aims to bolster existing systems and achieve progress on initiatives agreed at the 2015 Valletta Summit. Malta wants to strengthen and streamline the European Asylum System in order to distribute the migration load among member states more fairly.
2. Boosting the single market
Malta hopes to strengthen the EU single market, a huge free trade area that many regard as the EU's greatest asset.
Measures on the table include an end to mobile phone roaming charges and tearing down the digital fences that stop some people being able to buy good from other EU nations. Malta also wants to boost the use of wireless broadband internet services across Europe, and will work towards an agreement to provide free Wi-Fi in every town, village and city in the EU.
3. Improving security
A decisive response to the security threat is also on the agenda as Malta looks to achieve significant progress on initiatives aimed at better managing our borders.
Malta will also push for the creation of a European Public Prosecutor\s Office which will prosecute people and companies who act against the EU's financial interests.
4. Building a better society
Malta has punched above its weight in building an inclusive society.
Malta will use the presidency to help women get a fair deal in the employment market across Europe.
Malta will continue to combat gender-based violence, in particular by promoting the sharing of best practices and exchanging information on existing legislation, policies and strategies, as well as statistical data and studies. A ministerial conference will be held in Valletta on issues affecting people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
5. Our neighbours
Malta is looking to lead on bolstering security and democracy in the southern Mediterranean region with a particular emphasis on Tunisia and Libya.
The Maltese Presidency will also support EU and international efforts for the resumption of the Middle East Peace Process between Israel and Palestine.
6. The sea
Malta will be looking to the sea to ensure the sustainability of our oceans but also effective governance to promote growth in maritime tourism and freight.
Malta believes the maritime sector provides a number of innovative research and commercial activities that could be developed into job opportunities.
The Maltese presidency has just six months to make in-roads in all these schemes.
Malta's ambition, planning and energy will see it truly come of age as a committed EU member.