Ge­orge Vella closes Anna Lindh Foun­da­tion Med Fo­rum 2016

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Min­is­ter for For­eign Af­fairs, Ge­orge W. Vella yes­ter­day de­liv­ered the con­clud­ing re­marks at the Anna Lindh Foun­da­tion Med Fo­rum 2016, held over the past two days at the Mediter­ranean Con­fer­ence Cen­tre in Val­letta with around 600 par­tic­i­pants from 42 coun­tries from var­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions hail­ing from Europe, North Africa and the Mid­dle East.

Dr Vella started by prais­ing the par­tic­i­pants for the pas­sion­ate way in which they spoke about the chal­lenges fac­ing the Mediter­ranean, and also the high de­gree of com­mit­ment the par­tic­i­pants showed to­wards this cause.

In his con­clud­ing re­marks, Dr Vella un­der­lined that to­day was a spe­cial day for Malta but also a defin­ing day in Malta’s prepa­ra­tion of its first Pres­i­dency of the Euro­pean Coun­cil. Min­is­ter Vella ex­plained that it was a defin­ing day be­cause since the out­set of Malta’s part­ner­ship on this land­mark Med Fo­rum 2016, shared with the Anna Lindh Foun­da­tion, two core con­cepts were un­der­lined. Firstly, that the Fo­rum should not be a one-off event, but a process to catal­yse col­lab­o­ra­tion among the main ac­tors of the re­gion at this crit­i­cal time for re­gional co­op­er­a­tion, and se­condly, that the Fo­rum legacy should cen­tre on a fun­da­men­tal shift in how re­la­tions be­tween Europe and its Mediter­ranean Neigh­bour­hood, with peo­ple-to-peo­ple at its core, should be re­ac­ti­vated.

Dr Vella em­pha­sised that Med Fo­rum 2016 is to­day send­ing a pow­er­ful mes­sage to Europe, the Mediter­ranean, and the wider world, that there are al­ter­na­tives to the ex­trem­ist dis­course dom­i­nat­ing the global pol­i­tics, me­dia and our per­sonal lives. Dr Vella stated that the strate­gic vi­sion for the Anna Lindh Foun­da­tion’s grow­ing cen­tral­ity in the com­ing years, is very much aligned to Malta’s EU Pres­i­dency ob­jec­tives when it comes to bring­ing Mediter­ranean Dia­logue to the cen­tral discussion on how to face com­mon so­cio-po­lit­i­cal chal­lenges.

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