The constitution of Euro-MedITI by my Government is one other indication of our determination and commitment to continue to secure trust and understanding
The concept leading to the creation of Euro-MedITI stems from a principal policy objective that Malta has rigorously and continuously sought to maintain. Malta is conscious of its unique geographical position – at the North North of Africa and the Arab States and at the South South of Europe – as well of its make-up, a kaleidoscope of European and Arab cultures; best represented by the fact that Malta is the only nation that has a Semitic language written in Roman letters – an innovation in its own right.
Malta, thus, has throughout its history as an independent state and especially now as a Member of the European Union, consistently promoted the necessity to establish a more enhanced and structured dialogue between the Union and the League of Arab States so that closer Euro-Arab relations and understanding is achieved.
The main objective of Malta’s foreign policy goal in this regard is to create a positive atmosphere between Europe and the Arab world in all sectors - including politics, education, culture and business – that raises above differences but builds on the recognition that common issues such as sustainability, environment, and development require consistent dialogue, communication, and sharing to enable the undertaking of collective measures to address them.
Dialogue, communications and sharing leading to the informality of regular interaction between the two shores of the Mediterranean will only be achieved, however, if trust is secured and nurtured.
Malta’s active participation in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership since its creation in 1995 has offered it another opportunity to further peace, security, and stability across the Euro-Mediterranean geo-strategic region. As a European country with a Mediterranean personality, Malta is ideally located to assist in realising the overriding objectives of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, that of increasing stability and promoting prosperity in the region. Malta’s social, economic and cultural Euro-Mediterranean characteristics also help to explain its specific commonality of interests with the other thirty-six Euro-Mediterranean partners.
And, as a place of stability and political neutrality in the centre of the Mediterranean, my Government strongly believes that Malta is ideally located to assist in the attainment of such trust between the two shores.
The constitution of Euro-MedITI by my Government is one other indication of our determination and commitment to continue to secure trust and understanding. Innovation and technology transfer are paramount for development, growth, and sustainability. Innovation and technology development and transfer are essential if we are, collectively, to overcome major issues and challenges such as climate change, poverty, and securing prosperity. Identifying critical social and economic issues, coming together to address them, finding ways of addressing them provides us with one other vehicle, that raises above political beliefs and ideologies, to forge understandings and better relationships.
The need to look towards research, innovation, technology and the transfer of arising knowledge is of fundamental importance to any nation. Undoubtedly the application of research, innovation and technology are critical for Malta’s well being and the retention of its economic prosperity. Malta must seek innovative solutions to overcome challenges such as effectively desalinating water for home use due to lack of rainfall, generating alternative energy within the constraints of space and deep waters, transforming harmful generated environmental matter such as waste into green friendly by-products; securing our seas from the devastating impacts of pollution disasters.
And there is also no doubt, that these challenges are not unique to Malta – that in some form or degree they are challenges that affect the Mediterranean region, countries on either of the two shores, which require on-going innovative solutions.
And this is the beauty of the Euro-MedITI initiative. It will seek to bring interested governments, research organisations, entrepreneurs, NGOs from North Africa and the Arab states and Europe together, to put their collective minds and interests to innovate and create solutions to address the challenges that we collectively face. It will seek to transfer knowledge and technology from the south axis to the north axis of the Mediterranean, as well as from the north to the south axis.
My Government has placed the initial seed financing to establish Euro-MedITI, and has committed to do so for the first four years of its shelf-life. My Government, however, from the outset did not believe that Euro-MedITI should remain a Malta ‘sponsored’ initiative. Rather, Euro-MedITI should be transformed into a collective Mediterranean vehicle, working in the interests of the Mediterranean region.
Of course, the transformation of Euro-MedITI into a collectively owned Mediterranean entity will primarily depend on Euro-MedITI establishing itself as a credible institution that is able to transcend national and regional cultures, and in doing so truly establishing itself as an aggressive platform that achieves innovative business driven solutions directed at targeted sectors.
The platform that I am officially launching today is in its own right an innovation. It is unique, and there are no models that one can look onto to learn from and replicate lessons learnt. As with any innovation, there will be detractors, there will be hard times, and there will be difficult periods. Some will yearn for fast results which will not be easily forthcoming. Others will demand instantaneous responses which will fail to account for the cultural milieus within which decisions take place.
The pioneers of this innovative platform must hold fast and true to their convictions. They must sustain their innovative spirit, maintain the vision, provide the leadership, and build the necessary bridges and relationships so critical for enduring trust.
Euro-MedITI is an opportunity not only to seek and apply innovative solutions to address issues common to us in the Mediterranean, but also to act as a vehicle that can help to secure that little bit more of understanding between Europe, the Arab and North African states. It thus warrants our total collective support.
Speech by the Hon. Lawrence Gonzi, Prime Minister on the occasion of the launch of Euro0Mediti Ltd - Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta - 24 May 2007