The Directorate-General focuses its efforts on ensuring that Malta’s foreign policy objectives on bilateral and regional issues are pursued, not least through active participation in the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) as well as other fora. These efforts include the preparation of positions for interventions at the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), the relevant Council structures, including working group meetings. The DG is sub-divided into two Directorates, one dealing with European Affairs and another with External Relations and Mediterranean Affairs.
External Relations and Mediterranean Affairs Directorate
Malta’s relations with non-European countries and its position on a number of international political issues are co-ordinated by the External Relations and Mediterranean Affairs Directorate. Such positions are also expressed, where appropriate, at the EU level within the relevant Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) structures.
In the regional context, active participation in the Euro-Mediterranean Process, now transformed into the Union for the Mediterranean incorporating the participation of all littoral Mediterranean States, and designed to serve as an engine for the implementation of practical projects, remains a top priority. Malta’s involvement in other regional fora and initiatives of direct relevance to the Mediterranean region, namely the European Neighbourhood Policy, the Western Mediterranean (5+5) Dialogue and the Union for the Mediterranean are likewise co-ordinated by the Directorate.
In consonance with the Ministry’s strategic objective of strengthening bilateral relations, particularly with neighbouring countries, the Directorate continues to actively nurture Malta’s external relations on a bilateral level while ensuring focus on matters of direct interest. The Directorate focuses largely on Malta’s relations with its immediate neighbours, and others further afield such as the United States, Russia and China with whom Malta has traditionally always enjoyed very good relations. The Directorate is also responsible for Malta’s political relations with African countries and the African Union, as well as for monitoring developments in the Middle East.
European Affairs Directorate
The Directorate European Affairs manages Malta’s overall bilateral relations with the Member States of the European Union. It is also responsible for Malta’s links with Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, N. Macedonia, Iceland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey as well as with the Holy See and the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta.
The main objective of this Directorate is to create, maintain and enhance strong and mutually beneficial ties with all these countries. Its role is to formulate and coordinate national policy in their regard so that Malta’s interests are best protected whilst its relations with its European neighbours are kept at their best possible level. The Directorate also manages official high-level visits to and from partner European countries, coordinating and helping in their organisation as required.
The Directorate European Affairs spearheads the Ministry’s bilateral European initiatives, promoting mutually advantageous exchanges at all levels and helping set in place agreements that regulate matters of everyday importance for the people of Malta and those of its European interlocutors.
In addition relations with the Western Balkans states, including the EU perspective of the countries that are yet to open EU accession negotiations, also fall within this Directorate’s remit.