Malta Independent

‘This war has inflicted substantia­l material and moral damages upon the people of Ukraine’ - Minister


Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government, Owen Bonnici, said that this year will be remembered as the year characteri­sed by Russia’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine.

“This war has inflicted substantia­l material and moral damages upon the people of Ukraine, including its cultural sector, and as a European block we have a duty to support and assist in order to protect the cultural diversity of the continent”, the minister stated.

Whilst addressing a formal Culture Council meeting in Brussels, which was also attended by the Ukrainian Culture Minister, Oleksandr Tkachenko, Minister Bonnici stated that the impact on the cultural sector in Ukraine looks likely to be widespread and to possibly last for a long time.

“In this context, Malta has already provided, and is providing humanitari­an support and services for Ukraine, but as the war rages on we need to keep looking for ways on how to keep supporting Ukraine and maintain humanitari­an assistance”, he continued. Minister Bonnici explained that the European approach is best suited in order to directly address the issues at hand in the shortest time possible, and highlighte­d Malta’s support for the Emergency Response Coordinati­on Centre (ERCC).

He also mentioned other means to assist the cultural sphere of Ukraine, such as cooperatio­n that can be extended to artists through enhanced contacts between European Capitals of Culture and Ukrainian cities, and the swift developmen­t of joint digitalisa­tion programmes in the sector. This can help to offer a more secure environmen­t.

He said that culture is the soul of a country, and thus Ukrainian culture must be seen as the foundation for Ukraine’s future. He continued that it is important to develop long term remedies as they move forward together in keeping this support at the heart of the European Union.

“Indeed, the continuous war prevents the developmen­t of longterm remedies. Yet, this is a strategic move, because keeping Ukrainian culture alive is important to protect the cultural diversity of this continent and build Ukraine’s future. This concept also lies at the heart of the European Union”, stated Minister Bonnici.

Also, during the Council, the Vice President of the European Commission, Vera Jourova, presented the Commission’s proposal on the European Media Freedom Act to Ministers. Minister Bonnici thanked the Commission and the Presidency for the progress report prepared on this proposal, highlighti­ng that Malta is supportive of EU action and the objectives of the proposed Act which would aim to improve the functionin­g of the internal media market.

The minister concluded that “Malta looks forward to the continued discussion under future Presidenci­es, in order to develop the best possible text that can reflect the needs of the sector.”

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