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    Malta to Face Unemployment, Security Challenges During EU Council Presidency

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    Parliamentary Secretary for EU funds and 2017 Presidency Ian Borg said that the vision that EU policies should contribute to bringing the European economy back up to speed and mobilizing private sector financing in Europe is strongly shared by the Maltese Presidency.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Unemployment and security are among the major challenges faced by the Maltese presidency of the Council of the European Union, Parliamentary Secretary for EU funds and 2017 Presidency Ian Borg told Sputnik on Friday.

    Malta assumed the six-month rotating presidency of the Council on January 1 for the first time since joining the bloc in 2004.

    "One of the main challenges continues to be the level of unemployment, especially youth unemployment, in a number of member countries. Another major challenge concerns the issue of security," Borg said.

    The main theme of the Maltese presidency in the field of employment and social policy would be "making work pay," and to this end, Malta will prepare draft Council documents with the aim of providing incentives for entering the labor market to those unemployed, he added.

    "The vision that EU policies should contribute to bringing the European economy back up to speed and mobilizing private sector financing in Europe is strongly shared by the Maltese Presidency," the official stated.

    The European Union has a massive youth unemployment problem, with figures at almost 20 percent across the bloc's 28 nations, according to Eurostat. A peak of 24 percent was reached in 2012-2013. The crisis is particularly pronounced in southern Europe, including Italy and Spain, where the figures reach into the 50 percent zone.

    The Maltese presidency was also working on specific security proposals "that address regional and global challenges while upholding the values that underpin the very existence of the Union," Borg said.

    "Following horrific terror attacks in recent years around the world, security is a primary concern to citizens of every nation. We owe it to them to combat this pernicious menace," he asserted.

    According to the secretary, as far as Europe's security is interlinked with that of the region's neighborhood, much focus would be put on promoting EU engagement in stabilizing countries bordering the Southern Mediterranean with a particular focus on Libya.

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