The President of Malta

Speech by HE George Vella, President of Malta at Malta National Day Reception, Rome, Thursday 16 September 2021

Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

It is a great pleasure for me to be with you here today to celebrate a very special day for Malta and the Maltese people. I wish to thank the Embassy of Malta in Rome for hosting us in this prestigious building to celebrate Malta’s National Day.

I take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the Embassy’s sterling diplomatic work, further strengthening dialogue and cooperation between our respective countries, whilst facilitating diplomatic work for third country Embassies accredited to Malta that are stationed in Rome.

Relations between Malta and Italy continue to flourish and embody the historical friendship and deep-rooted cooperation at the diplomatic, commercial, cultural and people to people level.  Our sustained and open dialogue at both the bilateral and multilateral level is built on mutual trust and recognition.

Year after year, we continue to realise that cooperation continues to be at the core of our common future, and that no country is an island or a fortress.

When I speak about common future, I mean here both within the European Union, but also as regional players within the Mediterranean region and further south.

Excellencies,

The travel restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 disrupted precious meetings and the possibility to further enhance regional dialogue on issues of common concern.  I am therefore pleased that I am here today to meet the Maltese diaspora and have had the opportunity also to meet my counterparts, the non-Executive Presidents of European Union countries, at the Arraiolos meeting.

I am greatly thankful to President Sergio Mattarella for hosting this year’s Arraiolos Meeting and for reigniting precious dialogue between Presidents of European Union Member States. I wish to also thank President Mattarella for his long-standing service to promote regional cooperation and as much as one can, peace.

As President Mattarella will be relinquishing his office in the coming months, I take this opportunity to join the Italian people in expressing gratitude for his services to the Italian Republic, the European Project, and his statesmanship in guiding and leading the nation with proven wisdom.

The current juncture in international and regional geopolitics necessitates more than ever an open, equal, and respectful dialogue across national borders and across different geopolitical structures.

As we continue to witness the atrocities and atrocious realities of people escaping the ravishing realities of war, persecution, famine and the ominous forebodings of climate change, European Presidents have a very pivotal and important role to ensure that humanity prevails.  

I am confident that the meetings held in Rome will continue to act as a beacon of light for present and future leaders. Most importantly, I strongly believe that our uniting values, based on democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and sustainable development, will continue to provide us with important tools and the cohesion needed to promote a more socially just, ecologically rich, sustainable, and inclusive world.

Excellencies,

As is necessary and normal in every society, reflecting also modern-day realities, Malta has been experiencing several changes to its social fabric and is undergoing important reforms meant to strengthen the rule of law.

I too, as President of the Republic, have played and will continue contributing to this process, as guided by the Constitution of Malta and in line with the parameters allocated to my office. 

In recent days, I have taken full note of the Recommendations contained in the Report of the Public Inquiry on the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, and have already started working on the areas where I have the authority to act.

We are at a critical juncture that necessitates an inclusive and open dialogue across the whole spectrum of Maltese society which at the same time underlines the important nexus between the State, the Institutions, and the People, both Maltese and all those foreigners that are living among us.  

As a strong believer in dialogue, I am pleased that earlier this year together with my team I organised a number of conferences facilitating discussions on various matters: the Conference for National Unity, the Conference on the State of the Nation and the Conference celebrating 100 years since the 1921 Constitution. They were all initiatives that aimed to bring together and in closer dialogue professionals, academics, politicians, journalists, civil society organisations and the people in general.

Discussions revolved around issues pertaining to the Maltese identity, culture, religious beliefs, freedom of expression, the state of the environment, migration and civil rights and freedoms. Greatly encouraged by the prolific interest and participation, I am currently in the process of setting up a Foundation for National Unity, thus ensuring a neutral and peaceful platform to facilitate discussions and the discussion is established and sustained on a permanent basis.

I invite the Maltese diaspora to follow closely developments of the Foundation and to contribute to Malta’s social and political transition.

In conclusion, my final words of thanks again go to Ambassador Carmel Vassallo for organising such an auspicious event, and for all of you, dear Guests, for welcoming me and my delegation so warmly to celebrate together Malta’s Independence Day.

I thank you all. Thank you very much.

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