Foreign Affairs Minister Dr George Vella this morning welcomed Malta’s Honorary Consuls gathered at SmartCity for their biennial conference. He told participants that over the next two days Honorary Consuls will be able to appreciate and fully understand the direction in which the new government intends taking Malta over this legislature. Minister Vella said “topmost on our agenda is the advancement of Malta’s economic and cultural interests overseas. This conference’s agenda highlights the importance that this Government is attaching to economic diplomacy and networking across the world”.
Minister Vella announced that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will be calling upon Honorary Consuls in order to propose at least one project a year aimed at bringing investment to Malta and exploring opportunities.
Minister Vella explained that Honorary Consuls are an integral part of that thin gold thread that links Malta and Gozo to each and every corner of the world. “It is through your good offices and generous services that we are able as a micro state to extend our reach in cities and countries everywhere. Indeed, establishing a fully-fledged diplomatic presence in all your countries is prohibitive for us not only from a financial perspective but also from a human resource point of view” said the Minister.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs broke down the theme of this Meeting ‘Enhancing Malta’s International and Economic Profile’ into three key words. These are Represent, Network and Create.
“As Honorary Consuls you are representatives of the Maltese nation. You are a critical fulcrum of our foreign policy and consular network. Primarily, you are the first point of contact for Maltese citizens requiring assistance when overseas – a crucial link for many in distress or in need when they are at their most vulnerable” the Minister said. The government of Malta is keen to ensure a streamlined approach to the everyday cases Honorary Consuls deal with.
The second key word is Network. “You have all been selected to represent Malta thanks also to your status in your countries as well as your extensive networks that have proven time and time again to be of great value. It is therefore important for you to be able to utilise your network of contacts and if need be extend them further to be able to add value to your role as Hon Consuls of Malta. Networking is the bread and butter of all diplomats and in spite of the emergence of the technology age there is nothing that beats face to face contacts” said Minister Vella.
The government of Malta is committed to giving you the necessary tools to make it easier to utilise your networks in a proactive fashion for the benefit of promoting Malta overseas as well as networking to enhance Malta’s international and economic profile.
The third key word is Create. Minister Vella told Honorary Consuls that “Whilst you are all recognised in your countries as representatives of the Maltese state, it is through your extensive and valuable networks that together we can create opportunities. The areas within which you work are as diverse as they are important”.
Minister Vella highlighted the fact that many of the Honorary Consuls are involved in shipping which has proven to be a huge area of growth for Malta
This Government, the Minister said, is committed to ensuring that we utilise our extensive diplomatic reach to the maximum of its potential.
Malta cannot wait for investment to come to our shores. Now, like never before we need to extend our reach and use all the means at our disposal in order to continue to attract high quality foreign direct investment to our islands. Blessed with a highly educated and hard working human resource Malta possesses all the right elements to be able to attract the right investment which will result in better quality and better paid jobs for the Maltese.
Minister Vella added that “It is no coincidence that we are organising the first day of this meeting at Smart City Malta. To my mind there is no better place that captures the imagination of all of us present here today as to the kind of investment Malta is looking for – high quality investments for a highly skilled and competent work force. Malta has already achieved much in the area of ICT and it is this Government’s commitment that this sector will continue to thrive and grow into a world class hub”.
The same can be said of Malta’s financial services sector which we have seen growing from strength to strength and has been the subject of praise from all across the sector.
Touching upon the theme of culture the Minister pointed out that Malta has only recently been awarded the European Capital of Culture for 2018 and a year before that we will be presiding over the European Council for the first time since EU membership. “Both are mammoth tasks which we have been preparing for and will continue to do so over the next few years. First we will become the political hub of Europe for a six month period during which time we will surely bring a Maltese and thus Mediterranean touch to the EU Presidency. Shortly after, Malta will be transformed into the cultural hub of Europe. We are looking at generating more cultural tourism in a bid to showcase our history and culture as well as contemporary society” said the Minister.
The road ahead is not easy yet we have a lot to look forward to and a dynamic and new team to work with. Malta is proud of its extensive ties across the world which Honorary Consuls all embody and would like to ensure that they feel as much part of Malta’s success as we do.