The Mediterranean is "fundamental" for stability and security in Europe, visiting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi emphasized on Thursday evening.
He made the remarks while addressing a joint press conference with and his Maltese counterpart Joseph Muscat during a short visit to inaugurate the interconnector project between Malta and Sicily, Italy's largest island and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.
Renzi said that the Mediterranean is the "heart and soul" of Europe and it would be a great error if politicians did not regard it as such, adding that the delicate situation in Libya, migration and the threat of terrorism are all issues that need to be discussed and tackled.
Joseph Muscat said the Mediterranean cannot be considered as the border of the EU but as its heart and there can be no peace in Europe without peace in the Mediterranean. He said the theme of migration and Libya will be discussed further between the two countries in the coming months.
"The Mediterranean should not become a sea of death but one of opportunities," said Muscat.
Renzi also said that Italy and Malta will be discussing ways how to strengthen the European culture in terms of preserving and strengthening the "European identity."
The Malta-Sicily interconnector is intended to diversify Malta's energy sources by providing the country with access to electricity generated through sources located in Sicily and other regions on the mainland of Europe.