President of Malta George Vella welcomed President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins at Sant’Anton Palace in Ħ’Attard. During the official talks, they discussed in detail the status and potential of the bilateral relation between Malta and Ireland and their international efforts in the interest of peace and stability. They also discussed several matters currently on the European Union’s agenda, such as the Convention on the Future of Europe and Enlargement.
Addressing the media together with the President of Ireland, President Vella remarked that during the official talks they addressed the unfolding development in Ukraine and reiterated his very serious concern at the humanitarian disaster we are witnessing on a daily basis. President Vella also raised the impact that the aggression has had on international stability and the rules-based international order, as well as the severe economic repercussions being felt across the globe. Both Presidents reiterated their firm and unequivocal condemnation of this war.
President Vella expanded upon the worrying development in the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood—the Mediterranean—particularly the development in North Africa and the Middle East.
The President of Ireland expressed his support to Malta, which he said is a frontline state in relation to irregular migration, adding that this is a responsibility that should be shared and resourced. In this regard, President Higgins said that he is looking forward to his visit to the European Union Agency for Asylum, situated in Malta, and thanked those who work in it for what they do in giving structural advice to the countries dealing with migration.
President Higgins commended Malta for its preparedness when it comes to international affairs. The President of Ireland expressed his gratitude to Malta for being not only understanding but positive in its proposals in relation to help Ireland dealing with consequences of the UK-EU relationship.
Speaking about the future of Europe, President Higgins spoke about the significance of Malta as a Mediterranean country but also as a country that has been at the crossroads of civilisations, of religions, of languages, amongst others. He praised President Vella’s leadership in his preparations for the Arraiolos Meeting, which will be held in Malta in October, adding that he is looking forward to participating.
Both Presidents noted that Malta and Ireland share cultural and historical bonds and affinities that are reflected their mindedness on several regional and international matters. Both countries’ neutrality was mentioned in this respect. President Vella remarked that the visit by President Higgins comes as a testament to these excellent relations on all fronts.
Whilst congratulating Ireland on its terms as a Non-Permanent Member of the UN Security Council (2021-2022), President Vella acknowledged the cooperation Ireland is affording Malta as it looks at taking up this seat for the term 2023-2024.