Leaders of EU and European countries pose for a family photo outside the presidential palace after the first round table discussion of the EU informal summit in Valletta, Malta, Feb. 3, 2017. (Xinhua/Mark Zammit Cordina)
by Liu Fang, Norbert Cilia
VALLETTA, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- Leaders from all 28 European Union (EU) member states gathered in the capital of Malta for an informal summit on Friday, with migration and concerns over Washington's standing high on their agenda.
The summit is expected to deliver "immediate and concrete measures" on how to stem the flow of migrants from the Libyan coast along the central Mediterranean route into Europe.
"We will show our way is cooperation and partnership. We do not believe in walls...and bans," stressed EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini upon arrival at the summit, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump's policy temporarily banning refugees and nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
Trump's name was raised several times by reporters awaiting EU leaders at arrivals. "Europe has its fate in its own hands. The more we are clear about how we define our role in the world, the better we can also take care of our transatlantic relations," answered German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
According to Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, "Today we have pretty mixed feelings, to be honest, because the tangible aspects of Mr. Trump's policy raise some concerns. It could be a catalyst for a stronger, more united Europe."
In Morgherini's opinion, "We are and we will remain friends with the Americans...on the basis of our own strong values, principles, interests...We believe things have to be managed together. This is the European way. The American way might become different today. This is not a European problem. This might be an American problem, but we are seeking cooperation and friendship as always with our American friends."
With Britain's Brexit, unity within the 28-member bloc stands out to be a pressing issue. "Europe stands united today," said Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission when stepping into the Grand Master's Palace. But he stayed away from voicing optimism over the outcome of this one-day summit. "There is one rule when it comes to European councils -- you never know what will really happen."
Meanwhile, Morgherini highlighted the responsibility and values that Europe stands for. " We have a big responsibility as Europeans to show unity and strength at a moment when the world and the Europeans need a strong European union, sticking to our values, being true to ourselves and becoming a strong point of reference for our partners," she said.
"The expectations are high for this important summit. The rule of law has to prevail and European values have to prevail," echoed Romanian President Klaus Werner Iohannis while arriving for the summit.
On the eve of the summit, President of the European Council Donald Tusk urged EU member states to stay united. "United we stand, divided we fall," he said in a letter to EU leaders.