It is with great pleasure that I am today speaking with you via this short video message to convey to you and all your loved ones my greetings and salutations on this special anniversary of the National Day of Italy. This year Italy is celebrating 75 years since becoming a Republic.
It is my pleasure to convey my heartfelt congratulations to His Excellency President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella and the People of Italy on this auspicious and historic Anniversary of the Italian Republic.
The geographical proximity of our countries, together with a strong historical bond, are at the basis of bilateral relations, and continue to be a catalyst for future strengthened collaboration and friendship. Maltese Italian relations are a colourful mosaic of interactions in different spheres: sustained political dialogue, numerous commercial opportunities, and an evolving cultural bridge facilitating exchanges and people to people encounters, to mention only a few.
The long-standing friendship between our two countries can be best explained through our continued affinity and interactions at a cultural level, but also by our adherence to the core values of democracy and the rule of law. The presence of the sizeable Maltese community living and working in Italy and an even larger community of Italian citizens living and working in Malta reflect this continued friendship and bring to the fore our warm and fruitful relations.
This special relationship is also greatly reflected through the numerous political, commercial and cultural agreements signed between our respective countries and the ongoing discussions to further enhance cooperation in areas of common concern. Such areas include climate change, the health and environmental concerns in the Mediterranean, better management of the (humanitarian) migrant crises, and the future of our shared home we call the European Union.
Malta and Italy’s multilateral cooperation in international fora, including a strong Mediterranean component finding best expression in various regional fora, constitute an important tool that further strengthens our cooperation. Promoting a political approach based on mutual respect, solidarity and shared responsibility, our respective countries continue to endorse this pivotal method to address various challenges and unforeseen economic, social and health shocks to our daily lives and routine.
In the year 2021 the world continues to face the unprecedented challenge of countering the devastating effects of a silent killer that goes by the name of Covid-19. The deaths of our dear ones and the unprecedented impacts on our economies and quality of life caused by this global pandemic, continue to wreak havoc in our lives and unfortunately is still robbing us of those most precious to us. I therefore take the opportunity to express my condolences to those that lost their loved ones and express solidarity for others that continue to battle this vicious virus.
As we continue to address health, social and economic challenges it is important to consider the core values of life, that is: empathy, friendship and solidarity, and to cultivate these sentiments in our daily encounters and relations. As a global family, we should push towards a more serene reality, and a prosperous and sustainable future.
Positioned at the centre of the Mediterranean region, and in line with the principles mentioned earlier, both Malta and Italy have an important role to promote dialogue, mutual respect and understanding between the peoples of the region. In a post Covid era, I look forward for increased economic stability and political dialogue at a Euro-Mediterranean level, especially the inclusion of young voices and ideas to address long standing divisions and novel challenges.
I very much look forward to my trip to Italy to participate in the Arraiolos Group Meeting in September – Covid permitting- and together with other Heads of State reflect and discuss the present situation and propose joint solutions for the benefit of all our citizens.
In conclusion, I have no hesitation in stating that Italo-Maltese relations are unique. Like the numerous fragments and different pieces that make up a mosaic, our past, and even more so, our present relations, lay the foundations for continued future cooperation and a united approach that have the potential to flourish and to contribute to the benefits of our respective peoples and our beloved Euro-Mediterranean region.