Madam President of the European Parliament,
Hon. Leader of the Opposition,
President of the Chamber,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank President Marisa Xuereb and all her team for organising this dinner to commemorate the 175th Anniversary since the establishment of the Chamber.
On this auspicious occasion, I wish to begin my address by expressing my appreciation for the work carried out by this Chamber, not only for the economic and commercial strengthening of our country but also for the many occasions where the Chamber provides analyses and multidisciplinary guidance.
In its work, the Chamber is increasingly expanding the areas where it makes its voice heard, with the goal of continuing to improve the quality of life, in its widest interpretation.
Through detailed studies, consultations and straightforward statements, the Chamber is like a sounding board that faithfully reflects developments taking place in our society.
Nowadays, we can pride ourselves as a nation, of an entity that, while protecting the interests of its members and providing them with all tangible help, is also in an ideal position to contribute in a constructive way in the formulation of national policies, that go beyond the strictly commercial fields.
I mention by way of example, the importance of themes such as the environment, education, the strengthening of society, multiculturalism, the rule of law, and foreign policy when discussing the growth of the economy and the commercial profile of the country.
This Chamber is playing a pivotal role in this regard.
I say this confidently, against the backdrop of the many initiatives and studies prepared with the intention of continuing to increase awareness among the political class, among entrepreneurs, and among the public in general that a healthy and prosperous society is not built merely on monetary and business transactions.
It goes way beyond that.
We should all fully appreciate the service rendered by this Chamber for the benefit of the whole community by showing – also through impressive empirical means – that no individual sector can be efficiently evaluated and addressed in isolation, detached from any other consideration.
Such a vision would only result in dangerous short-sightedness, and as a consequence, in solutions that would only be temporary, superficial, and unsustainable in nature.
Education and the preservation of the environment immediately spring to mind as two cardinal contributors to the general well-being of society and future sustainability.
For positive and long-term growth, education – from a young age – must also include civic values, use of technology, critical thinking, media literacy, cultural inclusion, and above all, the ability to be flexible and accept change.
Likewise, the environment needs to feature more often when discussing the quality of life. You are now well used to me making reference to the environment, as do many others, whenever the opportunity arises.
The Chamber has always given a prominent standing to this all-important subject.
We need to comprehensively address anything having to do with the environment – from climate and energy, clean air, biodiversity, and water supply, to sustainable mobility, buildings, and construction.
These are all different aspects of how to discuss the environment.
I also note with pleasure the emphasis placed by the Chamber on its own members so that their long-term plans are increasingly built on sustainability and not only on profit-making.
In its continuous development and adaption to the trends and needs of an evolving society, I am sure that the Chamber will keep up its relevance by building further on this broad outlook and reinforcing the high standards it has observed along the decades.
In conclusion, once again, I thank the President of the Chamber, Marisa Xuereb for her excellent leadership, which continued to strengthen and deepen the respect enjoyed by the Chamber.
Madam President, during the last two years it was a real pleasure working closely with you and Council members, there were many occasions where I benefitted from your detailed knowledge, clear thinking, honesty, and professionalism.
I wish you all the very best.