Hotel Bvlgari, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Tuesday, 2nd October 2018
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
It is a privilege for me to accompany Her Excellency the President of Malta on this visit to the United Arab Emirates, and to address this distinguished gathering celebrating the 54th anniversary of Malta’s Independence.
We Maltese have much to celebrate, as the last months have been defined by a quantum leap in economic growth and sustainability in Malta. My country’s administration continues to work for a more developed, more inclusive, future-proof Malta.
On the domestic front,we have witnessed our economy go from strength to strength. Foreign investment keeps flowing in, as we have practically reached full employment, with the lowest rate of unemployment among youths across the whole European Union. Meanwhile, official statistics show that the risk of poverty or social exclusion in Malta is at its lowest ever.
We have made Malta the very first world jurisdiction to provide legal certainty to the blockchain sector. Quoting our Prime Minister’s address, last week, to the United Nations General Assembly Debate: “The digital economy needs to be seen as an opportunity, without nevertheless thinking that we can best harness its opportunities without evolving the current social contracts in place. Those who will be able to pair the digital economy with a new state, the digital state, will be best poised to have a futureproof society where change does not galvanise extremes, but provides for other decades of sensible, mainstream policymaking and prosperity.”
In the international arena, we have continued taking a pro-active role, both at the European Union level and globally. We continue to act as bridge-builders, promoting peace, dialogue and multilateralism, in our immediate neighbourhood and beyond.
Notwithstanding these positive benchmarks, Malta continues to face regional challenges with determination. On migration, we have led by example within our European and Mediterranean neighbourhood by spearheading an ad hoc distribution mechanism among European States.
Later this year, the Republic of Malta and the United Arab Emirates will celebrate 45 years since the establishment of bilateral Diplomatic Relations. Our relations remain solid to this very day, and transcend diplomatic and political ties to shape a friendship that has matured steadily over the last years. This has become even more apparent with the increasing number of Maltese nationals who have chosen to live and work in the United Arab Emirates over these last years, some of them accompanied by their families.
This friendship was further consolidated through high-level visits, numerous trade exchanges, and the opening of a Maltese Embassy in Abu Dhabi in early 2017, complementing Malta’s diplomatic presence in the United Arab Emirates and the Consulate General in Dubai.
Malta believes in the friendship, and this high-level visit bears testimony to our willingness and determination to continue consolidating this relationship, taking it to new levels.
Throughout these years, Malta and the United Arab Emirates have signed a number of bilateral agreements focusing on various areas of cooperation, showcasing the dynamism and mutual respect that continues to foster this relationship.
Malta has benefitted from several investments from the United Arab Emirates, with the hallmark being the investment in Smart City. Telecommunications and the hotelier holdings industry, with GO Telecom and Corinthia Group leading in these sectors, are also worth noting. In this context, I wish to congratulate all those Maltese companies, which, having braved new horizons, are making a name for themselves and for Malta outside Malta, including in the United Arab Emirates.
Malta joins the United Arab Emirates in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founding father, Sheikh Zayed. I salute his vision, based on investment in people, which has enabled the United Arab Emirates to become one of the most avant-garde, economically-developed, and prosperous countries in the region.
Finally, while celebrating one of the most important milestones in my country’s history, allow me to take this opportunity to celebrate with you the longevity of the friendship between Malta and the United Arab Emirates, and to wish peace, prosperity, and good health to our peoples in the years to come.