Prime Minister of Malta

Speech made to the Assembly

Friday, 28 September 1990

Mr President, I thank you for your kind words about my government, my country and myself.

Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,

“Membership of the Council of Europe has been to my country like returning home after a long absence.”

Those were the words with which my predecessor, the first Prime Minister of newly-sovereign Malta, began his first address to this Assembly on 4 May 1965. In his development of the theme of “the homecoming”, Dr Borg-Olivier touched upon two aspects of it which have become today, twenty-five years later, even more central to our concerns – namely “taking account of all opportunities for better relations between Eastern and Western Europe” and the “Mediterranean dimension of Europe”.

It is clearly incumbent upon me today to revisit these topics in the light of the historic changes that are now occurring. I am most happy that a significant and symbolic moment in the inaugural process of what increasingly promises to be a new era of co-operation between the former giant rivals of the West and the East has come to have the name of Malta associated with it; just as in 1945, Yalta, for good rhyme and reason, had come to be associated with the systematisation of Europe into two separate and opposed spheres of influence.

But before doing so, allow me, Mr President, in this silver jubilee year of Malta’s membership of the Council of Europe, to reaffirm very strongly my predecessor’s statement linking Malta’s regaining of sovereign status with the perception of our belonging to Europe. “Here,” Dr Borg-Olivier said in the Council of Europe, “we feel truly at home, joined with other members of the family who share our basic concepts and philosophy.”

If, on the one hand, a Maltese patriot like Dr Borg-Olivier felt so thoroughly at home here, in Strasbourg, at the seat of the Council of Europe, and equally chez soi, metaphorically speaking, in any cultural milieu or social manifestation that was typically or unmistakably European, so too, on the other hand, visitors to Malta from most parts of Europe easily find themselves at home in our island, and this partly because of the heritage of the Knights of St John.

Thus, the participants of an expert group in one of the baroque itineraries organised by the Council of Europe asked themselves what was the identifying feature of baroque Malta, and their answer was its possession in a small space of the full range of different national expressions and variations of the baroque style found throughout Europe, from the central European to the Portuguese.

The presence in Malta of the characteristic national artistic dialects of a Europe-wide figurative language is partly due no doubt to the Europe-wide origin of the order usually referred to as that of the Knights of Malta.

The leading European experts who each found a spark of his own country and national culture in the microcosm of our island also remarked that the peculiar identifying mark of the art produced by the vernacular Maltese artists was its synthetic, rather than eclectic, fusion into a coherent whole of the original elements of the imported inspiration from each European cultural milieu.

Their creative re-arrangement of signs of pan-European origin transmits to visitors from Europe a similar feeling of “at homeness” as is felt by the Maltese visitor to any genuine foyer of European culture.

This silver jubilee year of our membership of this Council has been marked by our application for full membership of the European Community, which we hope will further seal and strengthen our participation in the building of the new Europe of the future, stretching from the Arctic to the Mediterranean no less than from the Atlantic to the Urals.

However, the prospect of full membership of the Community in no way diminishes, but rather enhances, our appreciation of, and commitment to, the specific tasks of this Council. Indeed, we believe that these specific tasks have assumed an even greater importance with the development of the Community.

Mr President, in the first place I would like to emphasise the role of the Council in the field of social policy, typified by its establishment of the European Social Charter. There is, I suspect, a not inconsiderable danger that social policy gets overshadowed and disrupted by the necessary attention the Community has to devote to economic and political issues. There has, indeed, been much talk in recent years of a crisis of the welfare state in Europe. However, this crisis seems to be a reflection not only, or even primarily, of concepts of welfare, but also, and perhaps even more, of the crisis of the nation state.

Likewise, the plentiful talk of a transition from the welfare state to a welfare society seems to reflect the realisation that the nation state’s role is being reduced not only by the establishment of more effective supranational or international institutions but by the growing stature of non-state social institutions and other voluntary groups. Some of these groupings are also international, and they include not only philanthropic and religious associations, but also, alas, mafia-type networks.

Consequently, Mr President, at a very successful European conference on social policy which the Maltese Government in conjunction with the Council of Europe hosted in Malta, I decided to put to the assembled experts from all over Europe, including also the Eastern countries, the following blunt question:

“When Europe, or at least the European Community, achieves the maximum economic unity, by the magic year 1992 or whenever, without having however attained political unity, except minimally, what will happen to social policy? Can the social ideals that have inspired Europe over the past years survive the consolidation of a common market, without any common political authority?”

The Community was set up on an economic basis. No political centre with anything like a state-like authority has emerged, despite the increasing pressures and moves towards greater co-operation in the political sphere.

Social problems, with culture and human rights, are on the other hand the main areas of competence of the Council of Europe. Here, innovative proposals for institution building at a European level more extensive than the Community are being made, such as those suggested by Mr Havel concerning European security on the one hand, and what might be called the Helsinki cluster of issues on the other.

I ask: Is it possible to envisage that the Council of Europe develop some novel form of institutional framework to assist its member countries to generate a coherent social policy?

The form would have to be, in the first place, appropriate to a continent moving towards an integrated economic market, but with as yet no central political authority. Secondly, it would have to take into account the fact that, individually, European nations are seeking to transform themselves from welfare states into welfare societies – that is, to recognise that the state is only one leading actor in social development and welfare provision, and that a whole cast of other actors needs to be involved.

Thirdly, as social provision is conditioned by economic possibilities and the economic situation of any state today is conditioned by international factors, the new institutional framework should cater for the fact that no social policy can any longer be effectively fashioned by any state in total autonomy of the other states with which it is somehow linked.

Putting those three considerations together, it follows that, at the European level, a social policy could not be effectively fashioned by an institution such as a small committee of state representatives. It clearly requires a much more flexible and comprehensive network of participants. An original institutional formula needs to be found for social solidarity to be genuinely embodied across the European continent. It cannot be done by the ordinary means of international legislation, but it should be conceived in such a way that the experience of both Western and Eastern and Northern and Southern European countries is pooled.

I suggest that the promotion of such an instrument for social policy would be an excellent way for the Council of Europe to celebrate the end of the forty-four year long post-Yalta period, the end of a world polarised by two strange foci: the dollar, and materialist dialectics.

The work of the Council of Europe has not been a negligible factor in overcoming the bonds of this division. But, as I have already hinted in speaking of a Europe stretching not only from the Atlantic to the Urals but also from the Arctic to the Mediterranean, and as current events hardly allow us to forget, there is also a division across the North-South axis which threatens to worsen instead of heal in the coming years, which future historians might well decide to label the “post-Malta” period.

Even if it wished, Europe could hardly afford to blinker its eyes to what is happening on its neighbouring southern shores. It is being called on to conjure up a new future simultaneously on its southern and on its eastern flanks. Neither can be neglected.

This is not the place and moment for me to dwell at any length on the most immediately threatening situation in the Gulf. I will only mention the suffering that it is causing not only to those directly involved in the area, but also to all those others who, like Malta, had friendly and prosperous relations with both Iraq and Kuwait. Iraq was fast becoming an important trading partner of ours; Kuwait contributed investment to our infrastructural development projects.

There is a bitterness which creeps even into the observation – in itself quite thrilling – of the hardly precedented concord attained between the arch rivals of yesterday, at superpower level, on this issue, when one thinks of the depth of the plight which is the occasion of this consensus.

The Maltese sense of solidarity with European and United Nations judgments and decisions will unhesitatingly sustain the relatively heavy sacrifices required of us, and we will carry out any positive action that might contribute to diminishing immediate hardships and present dangers.

But, even while the critical moments are being lived through, our attention cannot be totally switched off from the whole gamut of background issues: from that of the role of oil in the complex economic relationships between the oil-producing and the oil-consuming countries of both the developed and the developing world, to the related questions of choices of sources of energy with their environmental and political as well as economic dimensions; from the other burning problems of the Middle East, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon and Cyprus, to the more general topics of the common heritage of mankind, of extra-territorial spaces and the possible transcendence of those factors which lead men to forget that they belong to one and the same human species.

Indeed, it may even be that a deeper probing, with longer-term perspectives, into the subsoil of our more visible problems will yield truer solutions than if we concentrated solely on what occupied the front pages of our newspapers; just as President Havel explained to this Council how it was the keeping in focus of visions of a distant horizon that kept hope alive for a long time in his heart and that of his fellow prisoners, until the hour struck when radical change became possible. It is in this spirit and light that we might just now take a new look at the old Mediterranean world, the ancient cradle of our European culture.

Mr President, as you know, at present the majority of the people of the Mediterranean are European. In a few years’ time two-thirds will be inhabitants of the southern and eastern Muslim areas. There is occurring, moreover, a big shift of population from the rural to the urban areas. Pressures are rising to explosive degrees. As it has been put, Europe cannot respond merely by establishing a picket line along its frontiers.

The only hopeful action and option is exporting the chances of prosperity. This option will not, of course, be achieved by entertaining unrealistic dreams based on obsolete political concepts. It can be done only by inventing new means of co-operation, new kinds of networking arrangements, new forms of mutually profitable undertakings. These should involve private enterprise, working together with states and international organisations. Primacy should be given to scientific, technological and cultural initiatives, and that is why this option falls within the area of main concern of this Council.

Malta in its way, I am convinced, could play a particular role in this process. We have shown ourselves ready and able to contribute to the setting up of pan-Mediterranean functional networks of co-operation. The “functional” approach was adopted by the founding fathers of the European Community in the conviction that it would ultimately lead to political union, but this would be an unrealistic and perhaps undesirable dream for the Mediterranean as a whole. It is, however, by no means implicit in the setting up of networks of functional institutions. It can easily be excluded in the setting up of sea-based functionally specific institutions for cooperation between the European and the other societies bordering the Mediterranean.

The setting up need not be oriented towards the creation or magnification of any super-state. They would be justified just for their own sake. They can also be successfully set up despite the persistence of sharp political disagreements. In saying this, I do not intend, of course, to discount the tragedy of existing conflicts or to show indifference towards their urgent resolution.

I am merely drawing attention to the evidence of experience. It has, in fact, been possible to set up Mediterranean regional institutions, such as the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre, established in Malta under the terms of the Barcelona Convention and with the participation of all Mediterranean countries – including both Libya and Israel – except for Albania, which may also no longer be determined to stay out. Such institutions are no handicap to any state, and are advantageous to all.

Moreover, because they are sea-centred, they do not rival or duplicate any European Community or other multinational institution; they constitute a complementary outreach. Indeed, it may well be the case that they prove themselves to be both a major contribution to the groundwork for the overcoming of the conflicts which still bedevil the region, as well as for the construction of a new pattern of Euro-Mediterranean relations.

The history of Euro-Mediterranean relations has been a curiously alternating sequence of periods of intense dialogue and periods of lax follow-ups. At present, proposals are being made in various international forums, such as the proposal to set up a Mediterranean-centred version of the Helsinki process and mechanisms or even of a Mediterranean council or forum for regular and systematic discussions of problems and projects common to both the European and the non-European littoral countries.

Probably any means that are at all likely to increase communication and understanding in the area should be welcome. It may also be, however, that initiatives in the areas which are among those of particular concern to the Council of Europe – social development and culture – are likely to be the most fruitful.

To conclude, Mr President, Malta feels sufficiently at home in Europe and confident in its European identity that it has no hesitation in offering itself as a base or outpost for any initiative of dialogue and co-operation that it may be thought profitable to pursue in this respect.

I hope that the results will be as favourable in the perspective of the sustainable development of Europe and the world as has been our experience recently in hosting dialogue meetings.

Perhaps – and I say this with vivid memories of the background scenes to the Malta Summit – the sun will shine with its normal brightness in our part of the world. (Applause)


Thank you, Prime Minister. Your speech has clearly shown your great commitment to European affairs and to European organisations. We listened carefully to your proposals for new tasks for the Council of Europe.

We now come to oral questions. I propose to invite Mr Fenech-Adami to answer each question in turn. I shall ask the member concerned to ask a brief supplementary question, if he or she so desires. As always, I remind the Assembly of the rule that questions should be brief – limited to half a minute each.

A total of five members of the Assembly have so far indicated their wish to put questions to Mr Fenech-Adami. I call Mr Roman to put his question.

Mr ROMAN (Spain) (interpretation)

asked the Prime Minister what prospects he saw for the emergence of a framework for dialogue between Mediterranean states.

Mr Fenech-Adami, Prime Minister of Malta

As I said in my speech, a number of initiatives and proposals are being discussed in different forums. It is important for us to continue talking. A process of dialogue that makes us more aware of the immediate needs of a common policy to meet present problems is extremely important. I referred to the suggestion that there should be a Mediterranean process similar to the CSCE process. That could be very positive. It is well known that the CSCE process itself includes a chapter dealing with the Mediterranean. We all know the tactics used to include that in the final document at Helsinki. They were not commendable. Although the substance was important, nothing has been done. Therefore, initiatives such as those which I mentioned are welcome. We must have an open mind in reaching a consensus among Mediterranean states on how best they can get together.

Mr Roman referred to the important question of economic assistance. The big divide between the haves and have-nots, the developed and the developing countries, is widening. That is felt especially in the Mediterranean area. It is time that all European and Mediterranean countries thought about how to obviate the obvious difficulties, possibly even tragedies, that we will face unless we become very much more aware of the problems involved and the possible solutions.

What has happened recently with the big change in relationships – not just between the two superpowers, but within Central and Eastern European countries – cannot be left to the confines of Europe. The ripples will spread – as, indeed, they have already – to other parts of the world. I am sure that the new process of co-operation will very soon expand to the whole of the Mediterranean area.

Mr ROKOFYLLOS (Greece) (translation)

I should like to return to a point you touched upon in your excellent statement, Mr Prime Minister, namely the advisability of broadening the CSCE process.

While the need for this process is clearly felt in Europe, it is generally agreed that the situation in the Mediterranean is much more worrying, more disturbing, indeed more alarming. It warrants a broadening of the process or the creation of a similar process. The problem of Palestine, the problem of Lebanon, the painful problem of the military occupation of part of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, and many other problems demand that we think about it.

Mr Prime Minister, I should like to know what your position is on these problems.

Mr Fenech-Adami, Prime Minister of Malta

The extraordinary events of the preceding months had perhaps lulled us into a false sense of security. There was a feeling of euphoria – the feeling that, now that the constant confrontation between the superpowers had ended, the world was a safe place in which to live. We had the shock of our lives when we were thrown back to reality and realised that security is not limited to particular areas – that what happens in distant parts of the world can affect us all.

The Middle East is a very sensitive area. Unless we pay immediate attention to the longstanding problems – some of which have existed for thirty or forty years – we shall be making a big mistake.

I would be very much in favour of a process, similar to the Helsinki process, which would make for co-operation and security among the Mediterranean states.


Let me once again express our feelings of respect and friendship for Mr Fenech-Adami and add that I am somewhat embarrassed because he responded in his speech to the two questions that I wanted to put to him. I intended to ask him whether Malta has finally made the choice of belonging to Europe – with all the consequences that that entails, and beyond ambiguity. That question he has already answered sufficiently.

I also wanted to ask Mr Fenech-Adami whether he would comment on the way in which Malta is complying with the United Nations resolutions and the embargo following the Iraqi violation of international law. What are the precise consequences for Malta of respecting the resolutions and embargo? Does the Prime Minister want to develop these two points?

In every other respect, I feel absolutely satisfied with his speech. I wish him success and I hope that Malta will enjoy much progress in the future.

Mr Fenech-Adami, Prime Minister of Malta

I can confirm that Malta stands by the resolutions adopted by the United Nations, and we are imposing and enforcing the sanctions mentioned in them very strictly. As I said in my speech, this is giving rise to' difficulties and sacrifices. We have a longstanding relationship with Kuwait, and the Kuwaitis, through their Economic Development Fund, have helped Malta, particularly with the huge – in relative terms – infrastructural upgrading programme on which my government have embarked. Only a few months ago, a delegation from Kuwait visited Malta and we signed an agreement that Kuwait would provide us with a few million Maltese pounds to help us to build our new power-station.

Similarly, our relationship with Iraq was fast developing. With the European Community and Malta’s eventual full membership in mind, we are trying our best to build up our local industries. Emphasis has been placed on our view that our small manufacturing industries should not rely on the very small local Maltese market. We are seeking new avenues of support for small Maltese industries that have hitherto catered mainly for that market. Iraq was one of the countries that we had targeted, and last year we signed a protocol under the terms of which Iraq undertook to import quite a few million Maltese pounds’ worth of exports. Unfortunately, that can no longer be done and some industries are being badly hit. Nevertheless, Malta stands by the sanctions. I think that something unique is happening here. Never before has the international community almost universally condemned an act of aggression, as it has this time.

Mr DEMIRALP (Turkey)

I have listened with great interest to the Prime Minister’s remarks about the Mediterranean region. Cooperation in the Mediterranean region is a subject that we expect to develop in the context of the humanitarian dimension of the CSCE. What contribution does he think the countries of the Mediterranean region could make to the CSCE?

Mr Fenech-Adami, Prime Minister of Malta

Malta has been at the forefront in this respect. We have always insisted that European security essentially depends also on Mediterranean security. No one can gainsay that; it is a fact of life that we have to face. Malta is engaged in an ongoing dialogue with the southern Mediterranean countries. We shall try to continue that process and I am sure that, on the European side, there is now much more awareness of the need to move fast. I predict that, if we do not do that, the situation could develop into another tragedy.

Mr BASIAKOS (Greece)

In view of the enormous changes in Eastern Europe that have led to the democratisation of political and economic life there, does the Prime Minister believe that one of the consequences of such progress is minimalisation of opportunities for investment in traditional market economy countries, such as Malta? If so, how should they cope with that revolution?

Mr Fenech-Adami, Prime Minister of Malta

The world is changing fast. It is a fact of life that investment is made where it can be most profitable. I do not subscribe to the view that investments are made in the particular countries that need them. More often than not, investment goes where it can be most profitable to the companies and countries that provide it.

Of course, we are all pleased and proud that Central and Eastern European countries have regained their sovereignty, freedom and democracy. Much emphasis is now being placed on the free market economy. It was a big mistake for the command economies to overlook another fact of life – that one ignores market forces at one’s peril. From an economic and investment point of view, more solidarity is needed in international relations, and I regret that it is to a large extent missing.

In referring to the experience of emerging countries, perhaps I may cite my own. We achieved independence in 1964, when we had to start building our own economy. I do not believe that nations invested in Malta simply to help my country. On the other hand, when it became a good proposition, investment flowed into it. I am sure that the same will happen to Eastern European countries. I do not expect that investment will be made as the result of a conscious decision to invest in one area rather than another, but only where it will be most profitable.

We must not lose sight of our fundamental creeds and values. Unfortunately, we are all brought up to measure progress and success in terms of economic achievement. Of course there can be no real progress without it, but it will be a very sad day when economic achievement and development is realised by ignoring social problems. I emphasised in my speech the social policy aspects of the Council of Europe’s functions. It is extremely important that we should continue to lay great stress on them. The big divide between the haves and have-nots, and between the North and South will, I fear, increase unless we are all inspired by a spirit of solidarity and a sense of real values. If anything, we can learn from the experience of the Eastern and Central European countries that have been through such difficult times, and ask ourselves whether they have been better than the West at conserving a spirit of solidarity. If our European way of life and culture are to survive as we would want them to do, it is important that we should examine closely the values that we are trying to put into practice.

Mr PERINAT (Spain) (interpretation)

asked what policies might be introduced to increase the effectiveness of the fight against pollution in the Mediterranean, bearing in mind the differences of opinion between governments of countries on the northern and southern sides of the sea.

Mr Fenech-Adami, Prime Minister of Malta

It is important to strike the right balance. There is universal awareness of the importance of stopping pollution and of environmental problems generally. The danger is that one may ignore the difficulties that emerging and developing countries may encounter if strict conditions, which I accept are needed, are imposed on them.

Last year in the United Nations, the then Prime Minister of India suggested that an international fund should be established to help the developing countries that will have to bear the large part of the burden of conserving the environment – which they cannot do unless they are given financial assistance. The same applies to Europe. While the richer and developed countries of northern Europe can afford to impose on themselves strict measures to conserve the environment, it is evident that the developing countries of the southern Mediterranean cannot. Here, too, we should be guided by the principle of solidarity. In identifying the problems and possible solutions, we must take into account the difficulties confronting certain countries, with which they will be unable to deal unless, through a sense of international solidarity, we act together in our respective interests.

Sir Russell JOHNSTON (United Kingdom)

I have a brief question arising from the Prime Minister’s wide-ranging and intellectually innovative speech. He said that before the invasion of Kuwait, Malta had a fast-developing commercial relationship with Iraq. He said also that it will be a sad day when economic achievement proceeded to the neglect of social values. Was Malta’s commercial relationship in any way affected by the Iraqis’ appalling treatment of the Kurds – notably the chemical bombing of Halabja, which killed about 5 000 people within an hour? I am not attacking the Prime Minister but asking a general question. Does he think that governments should make any effort to relate trade to human rights?

Mr Fenech-Adami, Prime Minister of Malta

We all have lessons to learn. I made the point that investment goes where it is most productive rather than where it is most needed. The relationship with Iraq that I mentioned was in respect of our search for new markets. Malta is already virtually integrated economically with the European Community. More than 70 °/o of whatever Malta produces goes into the Community, and more than 70 % of imports into Malta also come from within the Community. We are trying to gear ourselves for the day when we shall have to assume not only the privileges of membership of the European Community, but also the full burdens. To some extent, we were successful in calling for a trade protocol with Iraq.

The way in which the Iraqi Government have treated the Kurds is something that we all deplore. It is unfortunate that the international community was almost silent on that matter except for the odd remark here and there about what happened, which could even be described as genocide. It is good that we are all reacting so forcefully to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait because the international community has ignored certain instances, to its shame. Once again, it is all a question of values. We politicians must be guided by values, and woe to us if we ignore the fundamental values that this Council works to promote and to keep.

Again, I lay great stress on the fact that we should not be egotistical in our international relations. Of course, we must act in the best interests of our own country, but we must never abandon the principles of solidarity.

Sir Russell JOHNSTON

I should like to thank the Prime Minister for that reply. I repeat that I was not attacking Malta, because the British Government’s reaction to Halabja was to double commercial credits to Iraq.

Mr RATHBONE (United Kingdom)

May I ask the Prime Minister to describe his government’s actions and support for international action in the continuing fight against drug trafficking and drug misuse?

Mr Fenech-Adami, Prime Minister of Malta

That problem has also hit Malta. Our contribution – not only for our own sake, but as part of international action – has been to seek close co-operation, especially with our neighbouring countries, such as Italy. The Italian Government have been extremely helpful to us and have helped us to have the means with which we can combat drug trafficking. We have excellent relationships and an on-going exchange of views and information, not only with the Italian Government, but with practically all European governments and with the United States. The United States has, for example, helped us to equip ourselves better to keep a close watch on Malta’s territorial waters.

When I visited the United States of America in 1988, I said that we needed some help with that matter and the American Government then provided us with better patrol boats to help us to keep a close watch on our territorial waters.

The security at our airport is strict. Only two days ago, two people were apprehended trying to enter Malta with heroin. One case involved a person carrying a piece of wood. Although it seemed innocuous, it aroused suspicion and heroin was found inside it. Therefore, we are doing our best. Indeed, we in Malta have stiff penalties for drug, trafficking. Our laws were amended in 1986 and punishment for drug trafficking can now be up to twenty years’ imprisonment.


My supplementary question involves only a small point. Could the Prime Minister tell us his government’s actions to trace the assets of drug traffickers and to confiscate those assets that are thought to be derived from illegal trafficking?

Mr Fenech-Adami, Prime Minister of Malta

That is a matter to which we are directing our attention. Last year, we enacted a law that became effective on 1 July 1989, which states specifically that all bank secrecy will be lifted if there is enough evidence to prosecute for drug trafficking. Our laws therefore contain some provisions to help us in that way.

Lord MACKIE of BENSHIE (United Kingdom)

Mr Prime Minister, you have spoken about the population explosion in North African states such as Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, which has taken place without any corresponding increase in wealth. Do you regard that as the greatest long-term problem facing the Mediterranean? Could you give us the figures for Malta’s population growth?

Mr Fenech-Adami, Prime Minister of Malta

Malta’s population is more or less static. There has been a slight increase, and the population is now just over 350 000. Therefore, we do not have that problem in Malta; nor do we have a problem with North African immigrants, because Malta is small and the possibilities and opportunities for immigrants are not great. However, we are of course aware of what has been happening in Italy and of the Italian Government’s recent reaction.

As I have said, by the end of the century about two-thirds of the population of the Mediterranean will not be European. The only solution is not so much restrictions on immigration into Europe as the provision of wealth, of opportunities for work and of wealth-creating operations in the countries from which people are emigrating. Emigration cannot solve those countries’ problems. It is more a question of technology transfer and of helping people to help themselves. We must emphasise the importance of that happening.


Thank you, Mr Prime Minister. Does anyone else wish to put a question to Mr Fenech-Adami?...

Mr Prime Minister, Malta has a strategic position in the Mediterranean – not only geographically, but politically. You can act, and have acted, as a gateway for other areas in the Mediterranean. We count on you now, when we are witnessing Europe taking on a new shape and when there is interest in Europe from other parts of the world, including other parts of the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

We owe you thanks for your skill and international experience and for Malta’s readiness to act as a host for all types of activity. We are also grateful to you for coming here today. We wish you and your country all the best in the important role that you will no doubt play in the future. On behalf of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, I thank you for your excellent speech and for your excellent answers to the many questions that you have been asked this morning. Thank you, Mr Prime Minister.