Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that while the endorsement of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement by every European Union member state is a show of unity and practicality, this is no cause for celebration, and it is certainly not a good day for the European Union and Malta.
Speaking at the end of a summit held in Brussels about the agreement reached between the EU and the United Kingdom on their terms of exit from the European Union, Dr Muscat said that Malta will maintain its excellent relations with the UK once it leaves the EU, and citizens will not lose any rights they had before the Brexit deal was passed.
However, he said that Malta is losing an ally at EU level, and “like-minded member states need to work together to safeguard their status on issues such as financial and economic affairs.”
The Prime Minister said that the discussion on the future relationship between the UK and EU will be the toughest part of the Brexit process, “and while we want future relations to be ambitious, we have to ensure that there is a level playing field at every stage”.
Prime Minister Muscat also praised the work done by the negotiators, and the willingness by all member states to reach an agreement on the withdrawal of the UK.
EU leaders approved an agreement on the UK's withdrawal and future relations - insisting it is the "best and only deal possible." After 20 months of negotiations, the 27 leaders gave the deal their blessing after less than an hour's discussion.
The UK will exit the European Union on 29th March 2019. From that day onwards, a two-year long transition period will commence, determining the future relationship between the EU and the UK.