Clément Beaune, Secretary of State for European Affairs of the French Republic, paid a courtesy call on President of Malta George Vella at Sant’Anton Palace. The meeting focussed primarily on the upcoming French Presidency of the Council of the European Union that will commence on 1 January 2022 and last for six months.
President Vella referred to relations between France and Malta as excellent and referred in particular to the growth of French investment in transhipment, manufacturing, and financial services among others. Tourism is also a very important sector of cooperation between the two countries, and it is hoped that figures will return to their full, pre-COVID-19 capacity. President Vella also observed that the two countries share several regional and international interests, ranging from developments in North Africa, stability in the Mediterranean, and migration.
On this last point, President Vella reiterated the position made by Malta in the European Union, which calls for a tangible expression of solidarity with frontline countries. He conveyed Malta’s appreciation for the hands-on assistance provided by France in this respect and lauded the efforts made to relocate migrants over the past years.
Secretary of State Beaune gave a detailed overview of the targets being envisaged for the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union and identified climate change, the digital platform, social rights and the intensification of relations with Africa as some of the priorities identified. President Vella wished every success to France as it prepares to take up this responsibility.
The latest updates regarding the Conference on the Future of the European Union were discussed, with both interlocutors expressing their hopes for tangible results.