Becoming Europes most successful
Finance and Economic Affairs Minister John Dalli speaks
at Sundays JCB European, Middle East and African Regional Conference
themed Tapping the European and North African markets through
It is indeed a pleasure for me to welcome you to Malta
and I hope you will enjoy your stay. We have invested heavily and shall
continue to invest to make Malta always more attractive to visitors.
Leisure is high on the agenda in Malta; eating out is a national pastime
thanks to many quality restaurants. cinemas, casinos, nightclubs, bars,
and international 5 star Hotels are in abundance. The island has a beautiful
choice of living experiences, be it luxury sea front apartments or 200-year-old
traditional farmhouses, purchasers have a varied choice and the property
market remain buoyant.
Our Mediterranean location lends itself to water sports and sea orientated
relaxation or leisure activities. From Super Yachts to day sailing,
the facilities are readily available. Diving is a fast growing area
of tourist interest with visibility and conditions similar to those
found in the Caribbean or Indian Ocean.
Malta is an extremely safe and cultured place to live; it has a deep
and varied past with man leaving his first marks on the Island in 5600BC.
Our climate is predominately warm and sunny with clear blue seas providing
a beautiful place to live.
State primary, secondary and university education is readily available
as is private education. However the private education fee scale is
amongst the lowest in Europe but the standards are equally as high.
Our university currently has 8,000 students studying a broad range of
courses and some 6 per cent of the population hold a university degree
On the 1st May next year, Malta will be one of twenty-five countries
making up the European Union. As such Malta will operating at a high
level of standards in all sectors, which standards will be ensured by
the system of peer review operated in the European Union.
Maltas relationship with Europe dates back many hundreds of years.
But Malta as a centre of European culture was evident in the 16th century
with the arrival of the Knights of St John and the fusion of all the
different European cultures which they realised in Malta. Their influence
and sense of history also taught us well the advantages of being a small
country. Our political ability to react quickly when opportunities are
presented is a strong card in the game of international business, and
we play it eagerly to strengthen our global and European business advantage.
This helps secure our future as an equal partner in what is possibly
the most ambitious and successful club in the world.
Today, Malta has an active economy which builds on its human resources
to interact actively with the global economy. Unemployment is amongst
the lowest in Europe and our holistic approach to future education requirements
ensure that our children learn skills that will provide them with work
now and in the future.
Over the past five years we have upgraded our logistical infrastructure
to the standards necessary for European Union membership. A de-regulated
telecommunications market now provides companies and individuals alike
with a choice of mobile phone operators GSM or GPRS 3G service
provision - low cost VOIP international calls from landline or mobile
and ADSL or cable IP connection to the door.
Travelling is made simple with daily flight connections to most European
capitals. These are available via Air Malta together with many other
major airlines such as Lufthansa - British Airways Alitalia -
Emirates and KLM providing direct services to and from their homelands.
Flight times are very reasonable with London only three hours away,
Rome just one hour away, and Paris just two.
Shipping is a prime industry for Malta and our Freeport is one of the
busiest container terminals in the Mediterranean with a throughput last
year of 1.2 million TEUs. It contracts to some of the most renowned
international carriers in the containerisation industry, who are operating
regular services from Malta Freeport. As such we presently enjoy global
connections with approximately 110 ports worldwide, with over 60 in
the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. This facility combined with Malta
Maritime operating our Valletta harbour deep-water anchorages, provide
one of the largest such facilities in the Mediterranean.
Malta Drydocks further complement this by providing a full service ship
repair yard complete with floating dry docks.
Financial Services are a key expansion area for Malta and over the past
5 years huge changes have taken place. With a well-supervised onshore
regime, Malta is in line with the new standards of financial operations.
In fact it is being viewed by the serious operators worldwide as one
of the safe and trusthworthy centres from which to operate. With sound
regulation and a low to medium cost base, growth in our financial services
sector has been dramatic and shows no sign of abating.
Over 3,500 foreign manufacturing, trading and financial companies operate
in or through Malta today such as ST Microelectronics, Playmobile, Toly
Products, De La Rue, HSBC, Microsoft, and Dowty to name but a few. Their
reasons for being here vary but quality of life is one of the most important.
In the words of one of these investors:
"Malta should be considered as a prime location for companies requiring:
A combination of administration, engineering and hourly employees at
very competitive costs High quality standards Skills in the English
language Benefits arising from the Maltese financial services"
Together with these partners, we continue to build the infrastructure,
educate and re-train the labour base and practice our business
today political mentality enabling us to enter the 21st Century
Maltas geographic position has historically pointed its vocation
not just towards Europe but also towards North Africa. Malta will be
the only European country speaking an Arabic Language. It is also the
only European country that has been imbued in the Arabic culture. This
makes us the best facilitators in Europe for those global companies
that want to do business in North Africa. Malta does not only translate
languages. We are capable of translating cultures between different
The road is now clear for us for a fast development. As a country we
now seek specialist Global business partners to further strengthen our
economic base and to move Malta toward its chosen goal, TO BECOME EUROPES
MOST SUCCESSFUL NATION STATE.