It is a pleasure and an honour for me to address you today on the occasion of the National Day of the French Republic.
Let me to start by expressing my gratitude to Her Excellency Brigitte Curmi for giving me this opportunity.
Relations between Malta and France are deep rooted in history. French influence can still be felt in our language and cultural heritage. During the symposium held two months ago entitled ‘Malta and France: Shared Histories, New Visions’, all these aspects were touched upon by a number of respected academicians.
It is heartening to see such high-level Maltese and French academics, taking active interest in learning more on our similarities and sharing their knowledge and findings on the subject. Links that were possibly forgotten over time were discussed and analysed in their proper perspective.
This coming together between our peoples in different times and circumstances over hundreds of years, is living proof that our friendship and to the strong ties between us. These do not stop at the political level, but are very solid at all levels.
Our commonalities however, are not only historical.
In our day and age, we both strive actively for the advancement of Mediterranean countries by being at the forefront at the promotion of regional cooperation.
The Mediterranean is our region. Before anything else we are Mediterranean.
In this regard, I want to commend initiatives such as the Sommet des Deux Rives (2019) and others, that aim to bring together young people from different backgrounds, from the riparian states, both North and South, to foster understanding and appreciation as well as tolerance and inclusion for diversity amongst the newer generations.
There are still many outstanding challenges that we need to face and the Covid-19 pandemic has definitely amplified most of them.
The past year and half have been very challenging for all the health professionals around the world. Their hard work and professionalism was shown in their humanity and caring in dealing with a global pandemic.
Let me take this occasion to salute the memory of those who have lost their lives in these months due to Covid-19. We also pay tribute to and share our huge indebtedness with everyone who was involved in developing vaccines that are giving us hope for a return to life without fear the soonest possible.
I also wish to thank the French Embassy for donating and planting a Jacaranda tree to Mater Dei Hospital, as a symbolic gesture towards Maltese health professionals on the occasion of the French National Day.
Together we are duty bound to identify best ways forward, not only to tackle post-pandemic matters, but also to devise strategic long-term policies for our planet.
By this I am referring to the better protection of our oceans, our climate and secure food supply and health facilities to every country around the world.
Our two countries both aim to have a more peaceful and stable and prosperous world.
Multilateral platforms are key to achieve this.
With this in mind, I am confident that given the chance to serve as non-permanent member within the United Nations Secruity Council in 2023, Malta, will work thoroughly to instill the principle of a rules based international order.
Dear French nationals living among us. I thank you for choosing Malta as your second home, sharing your talents and contributing with your hard work with fellow Maltese.
Your contribution to our country is very much acknowledged and appreciated and we do hope that you continue to thrive here in years to come.
Likewise, I want to send my greetings to the Maltese community in France, some of whom are already there for four generations.
May the spirit of today’s celebration give us always hope to strive for a better future. I take this opportunity to convey my warmest salutations to His Excellency President Emanuel Macron, and on behalf of the People of Malta, I wish to you and your families a serene and healthy Fête National.