President Karis, dear colleague,
I am very grateful for the warm welcome you have all extended to my wife Miriam and myself as our long-awaited visit to Estonia draws to a close.
I am equally thankful for the invitation to inaugurate this exhibition marking the 30th Anniversary since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malta and Estonia.
This is a very opportune occasion to commemorate our relationship through the best means possible, that is, through culture and through art.
In a time of war, and with destruction and displacement taking place at the heart of the European Continent, it is more than refreshing and encouraging to celebrate mutual respect and friendship between nations and peoples.
Through the pictures that the artists are treating us to, we are also celebrating Malta’s beauty and rich cultural and historical heritage.
I take this opportunity to thank these talented photographers for the manner in which, each through their own perspectives, have captured the spirit that makes Malta quite unique.
Several hundreds of our Estonian friends have come to appreciate this particular charm, as Malta lends itself as a second home to a number of Estonians who have relocated to Malta for family and professional reasons. Others visit us as tourists or as students of the English language, combining study with leisure.
They are all a very welcome component of our community, and we look forward to welcoming even more Estonians to Malta, especially now that the Covid-19 pandemic is giving us some breathing space.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you would all know, we are meeting today as one of the final appointments in the calendar of my visit to Estonia as Malta’s Head of State.
The programme prepared for this visit was both interesting and very fruitful. I found my discussions with the President, the Prime Minister, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the President of the Parliament as highly insightful and I thank each and every one of my interlocutors for the openness and frankness of our discussions.
I am now looking forward to hosting my dear colleague, President Karis, for the meeting I will be hosting for the non-executive Heads of State of EU countries on the 6th of October in Malta. I hope to be able to reciprocate his generous hospitality on that occasion.
My engagements over the past two days have given me an excellent idea of the strengths that Estonia has built for itself over the decades and the potential it has to become one of Malta’s foremost partners particularly in the education and digital sectors.
Surely, distance and geography do not matter when values and visions coincide.
This exhibition augurs very well and tomorrow, when I will go back to Malta, I will be convinced that relations between Malta and Estonia will continue to thrive.
I wish you all a great evening and thank you for joining us. And I declare this exhibition open.