VALLETTA (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Maltese government has outlined its priorities as Malta will hold the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council from today.
Foreign Affairs Minister Ian Borg confirmed that Malta will convene four important meetings in the United Nations headquarters in New York, including one on the anniversary of the start of the war in Ukraine.
The first meeting scheduled for this month will be held on 13 February, through a debate about the precarious situation of children in conflicts. A meeting about the increase in sea levels is scheduled for 14 February, and on 23 February Malta will host an annual meeting about relations between the European Union and the United Nations, which will be attended by the European Union High Representative on Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell. The last meeting, on 24 February, marks the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Malta will organise this debate with the participation not only of members of the UN Security Council but also of others affected by the war.
Minister Borg explained “these priorities are an integral part of Malta’s policies in regard to foreign affairs; being safeguarding of children, whether it is in the interests of people and the vulnerable when we speak about peace and security, climate change, and also the aspects of education and literacy.” He added these are themes related to ongoing international situation just as much as conflicts, particularly the war in Ukraine that will be an absolute priority for Malta. Minister Borg said attention will also be given to Israel and Palestine, Somalia and Iraq.
During Malta’s two years as member of the Council, it will also hold the Presidency in April of next year.
PALERMO (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Guardia di Finanza in Palermo is carrying out a preventive seizure order of over 7 million requested by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) in Palermo. The suspects had obtained funds from the Sicilian rural development programme (PSR Sicilia) to construct a livestock farming complex with an attached slaughterhouse. They issued invoices with a higher price than the actual price of their expenses, which led to inflated invoices of over 12 million (VAT incl.).
The officials of the Sicilian Region, who were misled by the supposed over-invoicing, consequently attributed undue public contributions over 5 million to the company. In addition, the estimated damage of the tax fraud is of almost 2 million. Hence, a preventive seizure order of over 7 million was issued to recover the damages.
The European contribution to the Sicilian rural development programme (PSR Sicilia) amounts to 45% and is financed by the European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD).
The suspects used multiple contractual arrangements and related invoices between companies formally distinct from each other, but indeed attributable to a single business group, aimed at increasing the cost of the assets reported to the Sicilian Region for obtaining public subsidies.
The supplies subject to public contribution would have undergone purely paper-based “handovers” between several companies owned by the suspects with the aim to artificially increase the final investment costs submitted to the Sicilian Region.
foto Guardia di finanza
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Maltese government has launched the operational programs of the European funds for Malta for the seven years between 2021 and 2027. The financial allocation exceeds the sum of 2.25 billion. It was negotiated by the Maltese Government and agreed at the European Council in June 2020. The Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela said that this largest allocation of European funds for Malta will change Malta in a tangible way for the next decade through more investment in people. The main objectives of the operational programs is for Malta to become more sustainable, resilient and digital in the future. Abela also referred to the need for more investment from European funds in Gozo, in the public health and mental health, as well as in the improvement of the touristic product and in farming and fisheries. He added that his government would invest from the European funding in more Natura 2000 sites, in natural parks and gardens, in water management and in measures that would secure less pollution including a new interconnector with Sicily.
The European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said that the European Commission was partnering with the Maltese Government so that with these funds Malta becomes more modern and more competitive with the participation of everyone in a safer, greener environment, with an economy built on wisdom that leaves no one behind thanks to investment in education, research and innovation. She said that the ultimate goal was to make the Maltese economy more innovative. From 0.7 percent, this must rise to 2.3 percent of the GDP to reach the European average.
-photo credit xf3-
ROME (ITALPRESS) – Kamel Ghribi, the Vice President of the Group
“San Donato” clinics, said that the group is ready to invest in the Tunisian health sector to contribute in creating “a strong and modern system of health care for all age groups across all the social strata”. This was reported by mosaiquefm.net, the former’s website Tunisian private radio.
Ghribi recently signed partnership treaties with the Egyptian government to invest in health and other sectors of the country. “As a Tunisian and an Arab, I am proud of my origins, and I feel that Egypt is the heart of the Arab world, the gateway to Africa and the bridge between the past and the future, and Tunisia the cradle of history, culture, arts and my homeland; deserves all the support, especially right now”, he said.
Ghribi emphasized the importance of “strengthening the historical ties between the two pillars of the Mediterranean so that both countries can unite to work together and encourage a single future for the North African and the Mediterranean region”.
Ghribi added: “Egypt is in the centre of the Eastern Mediterranean region and Tunisia is the gateway to Africa; the key to Europe and the bridge that connects the north with the south, so that less than an hour’s time separates Europe and the African continents. These serve and can be exploited in a way to make Tunisia a tourist and a medical treatment destination for the European citizen”, said Ghribi. It is “this Arab-Mediterranean cooperation that would be a strong supporter of Mediterranean relations, not only in terms of health, but also on a level of exchange of experience and which the Tunisian workforce enjoys a good reputation on a global level.”
He has also expressed his intention to hire “a good number of Tunisian nurses to employ them with the San Donato hospitals in Italy”.
He clarified “today we are ready to put all our efforts, relationships and all the skills and abilities of our hospital group at the service of the Tunisian and Arab citizens to reach the top levels in the field of care, training and
scientific rehabilitation and overcome the daily challenges that the citizens suffer in the health sector”.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Cannabis clubs will be able to apply for a license to operate in Malta as from the end of next month. However, they have to conform with a set of regulations related to the operations, cultivation, sampling, testing, packaging and labelling of the cannabis products.
The applications will be received by the Authority for the Responsabile Use of Cannabis. The Authority will issue the license and will see that the regulations and quality control are being observed. It has also the power to revoke or suspend the licence. The registration fee will be 1,000 euros while the license fee will be 8,750 euros for the first 50 members. The license will be valid for one year initially, renewable for three years. The clubs must be non-profit and that only cannabis grown in Malta can be sold. The clubs cannot exceed the limit of 500 members while their premises cannot be closer than 250 meters to a school or youth centre. Clubs cannot advertise their products or include references to cannabis in their name. The cannabis that is sold must include warning discouraging people from consuming cannabis. Cannabis can only be grown in a greenhouse or in a remote location. The income of the clubs must be reinvested in the operation of the club or in the wages of the workers while part of the income must be put in a fund intended for harm reduction.
-photo credit agenziafotogramma.it-
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Maltese government has issued an exploration licence to a Maltese subsidiary of an oil and gas company based in Jersey to drill in two maritime zones of the souteast coast of Malta. The zone is considered to have the same characteristics of several offshore oil fields in Libya and has a hgh potentional for oil and gas. However previous attempts ended without positive outcome. The Ministry of Finance stated that Albion Energy Malta Ltd will have the right to explore zones two and seven, covering an area of around 18,000 square kilomteres for a period of two years. Albion Energy Malta Ltd is expected to carry put geological and geophysical studies on existing data. This is the first announcement of its kind in recent years. Over the past months no active oil exploration licences in Malta and its waters were awarded. Albion Energy has extensive history of drilling in several sub-Saharan African countries and is considered as one of the globol oil and gas producer. The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Tony Buckingham, is also the founder of Heritage Oil. The company was granted an oil exploration licence by Malta for the same two offshore zones in 2007.
-photo credit agenziafotogramma.it-
VALLETTA (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Malta’s Foreign Minister Ian Borg categorically declared that the Maltese Labour government has no plans for Malta to join NATO even though two European nations with a long history of neutrality – Sweden and Finland are ready to join the transatlantic alliance.
Responding to Politico, Minister Ian Borg stated: “my answer is a straight no. The concept of neutrality is enshrined in the Maltese Constitution, and Malta’s foreign policy has been guided by this principle ever since it was introduced in our constitution in the late 1980s”.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine popular support for NATO membership in Sweden and Finland has risen dramatically. However, despite the war in Ukraine has brought a fundamental change among the European countries, the Maltese government has not shown any signs of changing the decision taken in 1987 to enshrine neutrality in its Constitution.
However, the Nationalist Opposition through its MP Mario de Marco is arguing that it is high time for Malta to consider whether the neutrality clause introduced in the Constitution in 1987 is still relevant 35 years later, particularly in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The former PN deputy leader who was speaking in Parliament some months ago, observed that the clause was introduced in a completely different context, when the Maltese government chose to be part of the non-alignment movement during the Cold War between two superpowers; the former Soviet Union and the United States of America.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Maltese and Algerian officials have discussed the possibility of Malta to start importing liquefied natural gas from the north African country.
During a recent visit to Algiers, Christopher Cutajar, permanent secretary in the foreign affairs ministry met his counterpart Abdelkrim Aouissi. Both officials discussed future collaboration in renewable energy. Algeria is considered as Africàs biggest gas producer which has become a country of interest for the European Union to diversy its importation of gas following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The European bloc imported 10% of gas imports from Algeria before the Ukrainian war; the third largest supplier after Russia and Norway. The gas is exported through pipelines to Spain and Italy and by tankers from two LNG terminals.
-photo credit Department of Information Malta-
VALLETTA (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Robbie Williams, one of the world’s biggest artists, who rose to fame with the band Take That and then as a solo artist, will perform in Malta as part of his European tour. The English singer and songwriter is celebrating 25 years of his solo career and will be performing in Floriana on the 24th August.
The European Tour, which also coincides with the release of Robbie Williams’ new Greatest Hits album, kicked off with a spectacular show in Bologna, Italy three days ago. During this tour he is expected to perform across Europe including Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin, before setting off to Asia and Australia.
Set to be “a joyous celebration of Robbiès 25 years as a solo artist,” featuring some of Robbie Williams’ greatest hits including ‘Angels’, ‘Let Me Entertain Yoù, ‘Millennium’, ‘Rock DJ’, ‘Feel’, and ‘Shès The Onè, all those attending will get the chance to experience the kind of high-octane concert that Robbie has become known for.
“It is truly encouraging that another busy entertaining calendar is ahead of us. Welcoming Robbie Williams in the Maltese Islands showcases the country’s potential in attracting reputable worldwide artists that will provide an added value experience for all those tourists who visit Malta during the peak summer months. We are optimistic that Robbie Williams in concert will be another event to be remembered in Maltàs cultural and entertainment itinerary,” outlined Minister for Tourism Clayton Bartolo.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Maltese Customs intercepted 40kgs of cocaine at the Malta Freeport in a reefer container en-route from Puerto Rico to Cairo. Most of the cocaine is transported to and through Puerto Rico from drug trafficking organizations in the Dominican Republic and Colombia, and criminal organizations who operate in the Caribbean island.
The cocaine was found in 40 packets each containing approximately 1kg of the narcotic, concealed in a compartment known as the reefer-area. The Maltese Customs stated that the reefer was transporting a shipment of medical products. This was the latest successful operation in the fight against cocaine trafficking via Malta with 2019 recording a total of 750kg in 13 separate seizures, in 2020 612kg were intercepted in 1 seizure, in 2021 when 740kg were confiscated in 1 seizure and last year 800kg and 1494kg were found in two separate seizures.
Foto: ufficio stampa dogana meltese