The President of Malta, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, following an invitation from the King of the Belgians, King Philippe, has participated and represented Malta during the Commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Belgium’s invasion by Germany and the violation of Belgian Neutrality.
The commemoration consisted of two ceremonies in two different locations. The first ceremony was held in Nieuwpoort at the King Albert I Monument. This ceremony featured speeches by The Governor of the Province of West Flanders, Mr. Carl Decaluwé; a speech by the King; a speech by German Chancellor Ms. Angela Merkel and a speech by French Minister of Defence, Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian. After the speeches, a classical music interlude paved way for the symbolic remembrance of the flooding of the Yser Plain followed by a tribute to Albert I of Belgium, as his great-grandson, the King laid a wreath at the foot of the monument, followed by 14 cannon shots, symbolising the year 1914 and the start of the war.
Following the Nieuwpoort ceremony, the delegations were transported to Ypres. Prior to the ceremony, the President of Malta, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, had an informal meeting with the Prime Minister of Algeria. The Ypres ceremony was held at the Menin Gate, which was built in 1927 on the same spot where one of the former city gates of Ypres used to stand. The gate has been built and is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. This ceremony was addressed by the Belgian Prime Minister, Mr. Charles Michel, as well as by a representative of the Commonwealth, Governor General of Canada, David Johnston. Following reflections by representatives of the seven officially recognised religions/life philosophies in Belgium and laying of wreaths, the ceremony ended with the European and Belgian Anthems.
Following this ceremony, all the heads of state and government were invited to a dinner hosted by King Philippe and Princess Mathilde.
Throughout this ceremony, The President of Malta, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca was accompanied by her spouse, Mr Edgar Preca together with the Maltese Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, Ray Azzopardi.