The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela together with Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia addressed a press conference during which three EU co-financed projects under the Internal Security Fund (ISF) 2014-2020 were launched.
The national internal security strategies provide the direction and the prerequisites that Malta needs to address in order to improve its capabilities in managing border control and police cooperation. Minister Abela and Parliamentary Secretary Aaron Farrugia underlined that since accession to the EU, Malta is and will continue to observe EU regulations and participate in EU initiatives which foresee the protection and security of its borders. The projects being launched will further strengthen the Ministry’s capacity in this sector with particular focus on the issuance of Schengen visas.
The EU Funded projects are:
Training on Schengen and Immigration Matters
Through this project, the Ministry aims to continue strengthening its human resources by providing continued training of personnel in Schengen and Immigration Policy. This training shall include modules focusing on skills that provide personnel with the right tools to carry out the processing of a visa application and the necessary due diligence checks. Furthermore, on-the-job training within one of Malta’s Missions and Consular posts shall be provided to allow selected officials to put into practice as well as supplement acquired skills with current trends in the field. The training programme will be available to all stakeholders including the Central Visa Unit, Immigration Police, and Asylum authorities. The total Budget allocated for this project is €700,000.00, of which 75% will be financed by the EU.
Re-engineering and Operation Costs for the National Visa System (N-VIS)
This project aims to address improvements to the national visa system which will result in efficiency of the visa process. The budget allocated for this project is €1,700,000, of which 75% are EU funded.
Operational Costs for the Administration of Schengen and Visa Matters
This project includes the reimbursement of salaries of personnel working within the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion and its consulate on Schengen and visa matters. The budget allocated for this project is €1,500,000. This project is 100% funded by the EU.
Minister Abela and Parliamentary Secretary Aaron Farrugia concluded by stating that these projects will be of great contribution to both the Ministry, to strengthen and encourage its staff, and to show its commitment to enhance Malta’s presence within the EU and in third countries.