As our Commonwealth Chair-in Office Malta concurrently assumes the Presidency of the Council of the EU it is my pleasure to offer warm congratulations to the Prime Minister, Dr Joseph Muscat.
The combination of these immensely important global and regional responsibilities are potent expressions of the contribution Malta makes, and its commitment to multilateral cooperation.
Malta’s overlapping memberships of regional and other international groupings, and enduring commitment as a small island nation to making a big global impact, speak potently to the value of global leadership that can be offered by countries of every size in terms of geography, population, or economy.
Yesterday evening, we marked the beginning of Malta’s EU Presidency at Europe House in London with a most thrilling and uplifting celebration of the cultural energy of Malta, expressed through art and music, and introduced by the High Commissioner, Norman Hamilton.
The ‘Horizons’ exhibition of paintings by Josette Fenech depicts both the natural beauty of Malta and the Mediterranean, and the long history and farsighted vision of the Maltese people as a seafaring and trading island nation, drawing on many influences and always looking out for new opportunities.
Afterwards the truly memorable concert ‘Seas’, performed with great skill and enthusiasm by the seventeen members of ‘Big Band Brothers’, was a sensitive mix of deeply thoughtful pieces and exciting rhythms, and conveyed the beauty and wisdom that come from drawing together a wide range of influences.
Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, and its continuing role as our Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, come as we complete a year of celebrating ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’, and take as our new focus ‘A peace-building Commonwealth’.
I offer my warm congratulations and our Commonwealth appreciation to the Government of Malta and the Maltese people for continuing to inspire us with their practical response and staunch commitment to our collective aspirations and vision as a family of nations, and to the shared values and principles of our Commonwealth Charter.