Valetta, 27 March 2015: “Malta is a symbol - both in terms of geography and cultural heritage - of the Mediterranean dialogue that the Anna Lindh Foundation must strive for”, Executive Director Hatem Atallah stated on Friday during his visit to the island-state. Malta represents Director Atallah’s first international mission since assuming his mandate at the start of March.
During his visit to Malta, Director Atallah had the opportunity to meet with high-officials and regional institutions, including the Maltese Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Chairman of the Mediterranean Academy for Diplomatic Studies (MEDAC), and the Executive Director of the European Commission-League of Arab States Liaison Centre (ECLASLO). One of the cross-cutting themes of the meetings was the preparation of the EU Presidency in Malta in 2017, which represents the only “Mediterranean country” guiding the EU Presidency until Cyprus in 2023.
Dr George Vella, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, underlined the importance that Malta placed on the role of the Anna Lindh Foundation as “a beacon of light from Alexandria across the Mediterranean” in the face of unprecedented of cultural regression, social crises and an unprecedented level of violence in the region. He added that “Malta is ready to enter a new phase with the Foundation focused on those tangible, high-impact initiatives which can keep the regional dialogue alive.”
Dr Jo Borg, Chairman of MEDAC and former European Union Commissioner, also underlined that the EU Presidency in 2017 was a unique opportunity to “ensure the EU looks beyond its internal issues and reinforces its role in the Mediterranean”, adding that “the Foundation and MEDAC must contribute to recapturing the ‘Euro-Med’ perspective” that was launched exactly two decades ago this year through the Barcelona Process.
Malta has a particular status according to the founding agreements of the Anna Lindh Foundation which foresaw a central strategic contribution from the Maltese authorities to the overall development and impact of the Foundation.