Pope Francis had “cordial discussions” with President George Abela of Malta today, during which the two leaders spoke about "good relations" between Malta and the Holy See, migration and fruitful collaboration in the service of the common good.

“During the cordial discussions, mention was made of the deep imprints of Christianity in the history, culture and life of the Maltese population,” a statement said. It added that the two men also discussed “the good relations between the Holy See and Malta, recalling the pastoral visits made by Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI.”

“Particular reference was made to the contribution of the Catholic Church in the fields of education and welfare, and the Agreements concluded between the Holy See and Malta with a view to fruitful collaboration in the service of the common good,” the statement continued.

“Finally, the Parties focused on Malta’s contribution within the European Union, as well as various situations in the Mediterranean region, and the phenomenon of migration towards Europe which involves the efforts of the Church and the government,” the communique concluded.

After his meeting with the Pope, the President met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

President Abela, a popular leader whose five year term ends in April, travelled to Vatican with his wife, children and grandchildren.